DIY Rain Harvesting

DIY rain barrel, Kingston, OntarioAfter a week that was filled with so much rain the City had to close down all of their playing fields, it seems fitting that we cap off our Green/Gardening Week with a rain-related post.  If you were lucky enough to snag one of Utilities Kingston’s rain barrels, then perhaps today’s feature is of little interest to you.  For the rest of us who are still in need of a rain harvesting mechanism, there are a variety of options that require a bit of DIY elbow grease, and scrounging for the right materials.

If you’re in the market for something with the same capacity and capability as a store-bought rain barrel, the first step is to find yourself a plastic 55 gallon drum.  To keep costs down, used is definitely the way to go, in which case Kijiji and Craigs List should bear fruit.  While I’ve seen a few examples where folks improvised and use a plastic garbage can instead, these are rather flimsy and thus they might not last as long.  If you’re going the used route, be sure to pay attention to what was previously stored in your barrel, otherwise you might end up with one that used to contain dangerous chemicals.  Once you find the perfect barrel, head on over to Instructables where you can review how other people built their own rain harvesters, including the remaining materials you’ll need to put it all together.

Understandably, those living in apartment buildings may want to harvest rain water for whatever they’re growing on their balconies.  That said, using a 55 gallon drum is likely not an option given the lack of access to an appropriate down spout.  In that case, you can still get creative and harvest rain water simply by strategically placing a few cups or containers in areas you expect to receive rain.  Be sure to use a screen on top of your containers so to avoid problems with mosquitoes, and other balcony critters.

Thanks to vigilant20 for today’s photo of a homemade rain barrel.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

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