Where do I Start? Collecting Water with Rain Barrels

Harvesting systems can vary from the simple use of barrels aided by the force of gravity to deliver the water, to more advanced systems using cisterns, pumps, and flow controls. There are a few things you can do to find out what kind of rainwater harvesting system is right for you. The information presented in the rest of this website consists of a few simple steps to help you learn about rainwater collection before you buy a rain barrel or water harvesting system.

To get an idea what’s out there on the market, you can check out our page on buying rain barrels. Next, we can help you find out:

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rhonda July 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I have two rainbarrells one wooden and one plastic that collect rain from the roof. They both smell horrible and have a yellowish tint. My husband insists that that is the way it is surpose to be, but I have numerous plants that keep dying and they are the ones I water with the rainbarrell water. What should I do? Is this water safe?

Thanks for your response


steve July 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm

@Rhonda, I would drain it and start over, just in case. You could also try a few tablespoons of bleach if you didn’t want to lose the water.
Either way, you should add some bleach as you go along next time, if you aren’t using the water quickly enough and it smells bad.


Gloria June 13, 2016 at 9:34 pm

Live in NM, how much rain can we hope to collect from 1000 square foot roof.


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