Rainwater Harvesting System

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The news isn’t very promising when it comes to our national drought crisis. According to the 2015 United States Drought Monitor, if you live west of the Rockies, you are in a long term drought situation! One thing that all of us can do to help with the drought is to start collecting the rain that does fall on to our roofs (houses, sheds, doghouses, etc). This is called rainwater harvesting and although this particular project may be on the advanced level, you can absolutely install a 55 gallon rain barrel and reap the benefits such as much.
This is the side of our house before installing a rainwater harvesting system.The over grown shrub in the back of the house had to go.
Dean stubbed out the 2” piping that works its way down to the vegetable garden and put in the recycled concrete stone base that the tank would sit upon. In some cases, you may need to raise the collection system on cinder blocks or even build a platform, so that gravity can help with water delivery pressure.
Since Dean had previously constructed a screen and gate at the front corner of the house (see the before picture above), this area was going to get the same decorative treatment using a horizontal fence detail and green facade panels that would help hide the ginormous tank [said Diane]. So, we laid everything out according to the plan and put in the pressure treated posts that would provide the frame
The trellis will provide plant coverage which will hide the tank from the neighbors view.
Oh, did we mention that this is a 865 gallon tank! Go big or go home! We hooked up the bottom drain and the top overflow using standard PVC fittings and moved ahead finishing off the fence. This is one line that goes to an in ground valve box where we can switch the overflow on to flow into the rain garden. Now all we needed were a gutter and a downspout!
Fence is complete and it also nicely hides the pool pump equipment.
The plants have grown in very nicely. We are collecting about 400 s.f. of roof surface, so we will be getting about 300 gallons or so for every 1” of rainfall. That is 15,000 gallons per year and about 1250 gallons per month.
Our vegetable garden is about 200 square feet and let’s just use an average of 60 gallons per week. We estimate that we will be using 3120 gallons per year and about 260 per month.
In addition, we will be using this free water for all of our container plantings which is probably about another 200 gallons or so per month.
Start collecting and let’s do our part to make sure that the spigot keeps flowing! Hope this is helpful when it comes to you installing a rainwater harvesting system. Let us know if you have questions and please visit our website for more information.

Diane and Dean DIY
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  • Em Hooper Em Hooper on Aug 10, 2015
    Just love this. Great job. Best I can do is water my outdoor potted plants with water from my dehumidifier in the basement! Were I younger and stronger, I'd be copying this project!

  • Lois Franklin Lois Franklin on Aug 19, 2015
    Great job on your system! Just a warning...Before you get into harvesting rain water, be sure your state doesn't prohibit it! It's illegal in some states now so check it out. Better to be safe than sorry.

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    • Olga dawson Olga dawson on Jun 15, 2021

      I heard what you said was true for some blue states where rainfall is scarce and the local gov is nuts. In FL, though, no such thing. It rains there all the time. Still, good advice to check the local laws, I concur.

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