DIY Rainwater Collection System

Rainwater harvesting has been used since Ancient Rome. Water one of the most valuable resources we have. It is estimated that the average person wastes about 30 gallons of water each day. A rainwater collection system could reduce your household water use by a third simply by collecting rain from the roof. A rain collection system could supply your home with an extra 4500 gallons of water in the Utah Desert, and even more in wetter climates.

Collecting rainwater is good for the environment as well. Storm rains pick up trash, nutrients, and other pollutants. The rain moves through drains and into local bodies of water such as rivers and lakes impairing water quality. Rainwater collection will lessen the initial flush of stormwater runoff and reduce the amount of pollution that reaches local watersheds. Rain barrels can reduce stormwater runoff by 12 percent. Harvesting rainwater will reduce water withdrawal from lakes and rivers. It will provide water for gardens and landscaping. It will allow you to conserve water and save money.

DIY Rainwater Collection System 


  • 55-gallon drum with lid
  • Paint Strainer
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Gutter strainer
  • Downspout fittings
  • Cinder blocks
  • 3/4" spigot with turn ball valve
  •  Permanent marker
  • Drill with 7/8" spade bit
  • Jigsaw
  • Half-round file
  • Utility knife
  • 1 1/4" galvanized wood screws


  1. Drill a starter hole into the side of the 5-gallon bucket.
  2. Use the jigsaw to cut the top off of the 5-gallon bucket.
  3. Trace the outline of the 5-gallon bucket the 55-gallon drum lid.
  4. Drill a starter hole in the drum lid.
  5. Cut out the outline using the jigsaw. The top of the 5-gallon bucket should fit tight.
  6. Drill a hole at the bottom of the 55-gallon drum. Use the file to slowly widen the hole until the spigot fits snugly.
  7. Place the 55-gallon drum on top of the 3 cinder blocks.
  8. Attach the downspout fitting to your existing rain gutter. The new downspout should run directly into the top of the 5-gallon bucket.
  9. Make sure the new downspout is secure. Use brackets to attach it to the house if necessary.
  10. Cut a hole in the lid of the of the 5-gallon bucket to allow the end of the downspout through.
  11. Attach a paint strainer to the 5-gallon bucket. This will prevent large objects and bugs from getting into the water supply.  Make sure the paint strainer doesn't hang too far into the rain barrel.
  12. Place a gutter strainer in the open gutter on the roof. This will stop large items from falling into the rain gutter and clogging it.
  13. Attach a hose to the spigot to water the garden easily.
  14. Link several rain barrels together with PVC pipes to collect even more water.

Be sure to follow local regulations for rainwater harvesting. 

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