Rainwater Harvesting

A couple of months ago I started looking at commercial rainwater harvesting systems.
I wanted to collect rainwater for my vegetable plants, but did not want to breed mosquitos.
But the prices I found ($150+) for quality systems were more than I wanted to spend.
I decided I could make my own.
I already had the gutter, just had to make some modifications to it.

I found a 37 gallon drum from Tractor Supply Company on sale for $19.98.
It is designed for storing feed, water, chemicals, or tools.
It is NOT your typical trashcan made out of thin plastic, it is 1/4 inch thick.
It it also chemically neutral.
It comes with 2 places to drill the lid to add padlocks.
With kids running around I plan on adding padlocks soon.

There is a filter-screen at the intake in the lid of the drum.

Total cost was under $40.

This picture show the overflow drain and the hose bibb (spout).

I found that I was losing a lot of water to the gaps in the spout where it attaches to the lid. Since that time
I sealed the spout and painted it.
It now works great! Access to the filter-screen is now from inside the lid. This works just fine too.

Below are questions and comments I've received:

Any concern about the filter clogging at that point, backing up the water in the spout and possibly blowing it out?

Not really. I've never had to clean out my gutters. Plus the filter-screen is not flat, so a large leaf shouldn't be able to block it on its own.

Can the overflow tap go any higher or is this where you wanted it for a specific reason?

Yes it could go higher, but the side seemed a little thicker here.
I guestimated I wouldn't lose but a gallon or two capacity putting it there.
I can always cap it and put another one higher.

I like it. Simple. Effective. "Frugal".

Thanks! That's what I was attempting.


The overflow drain isn't big enough to keep up with what's coming down the downspout so what happens to the extra water?
Does it flow out from under the lid of the can?

In huge rainstorms it leaks out from under the lid.
By huge I mean over 2 1/2" of rain in 30 minutes.
People have had rodents and other animals crawl up large overflow hoses and drowned in the water.
You don't want to experience this. If 2 3/4" overflow spouts are not enough, then you need to add more downspouts to your gutter system.
If I need to you can add a second overflow to the other side of the drum.


If you're going to do a can-to-can transfer wouldn't you want a tube equal (or larger) in size to that of the downspout?

Most of the commercially made systems, and design plans I found on the Internet have small diameter transfer tubes.

Got any sources for information you can share?

Here are some of the plans and better commercial systems I found:

The Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting



A Spouse's Guide to Building_the Perfect Water Barrel_System --Check out the water level indicator!


Arid Solutions