Installing a Rainwater Harvesting System

Whether you are trying to save a few dollars on your water bill, are concerned about water conservation, or you just want to be independent and off-grid, Rainwater harvesting and storage is viable for almost any situation and amount of water needed.

Choose a site for your storage vessel, be it a large tank holding thousands of gallons, or a single 55 gallon rain barrel.The tank should be placed a short distance from a roofed structure with a gutter and downspout. Once the site is chosen you level the tank. This video shows using gravel to level the tanks. Other methods include a concrete slab foundation or a wooden frame.
Next, the piping from gutters must be measured and installed. Piping varies for every system, but the fundamentals are the same. Start with the PVC pipes from the gutter downspout that divert water to the tank. The diversion piping starts with a first flush system — the first rain collected will be diverted from entering the storage tank because it contains unwanted debris from roof gutters. There are commercially available diverter systems that help insure water stored for household use is adequately clean. Also, at this point a filter will be installed. The amount of filtering and size of filtering screen will depend on the intended use of the water being stored.
After the diversion system and filter are installed, piping from these systems and a connection to storage tank are assembled. Again, this varies with different systems. Pipes will continue to the storage tank and end with a well sealed fitting between the PVC pipes and the tank. The size of fittings and pipe will depend on the size of your storage tank.
You can now have a filled tank of water stored for your use. The next step is to install the appropriate outlet to retrieve water from your tank. Start with another well sealed PVC fitting and pipe at a low location leading out of the tank. If the water is intended for garden or irrigation, you may choose to install a spigot in order attach a water hose, to fill buckets or to attach an irrigation hose. If the water is intended for household use, fittings and pipe may lead out to a pump to push the water through household pipes or to a purification system to make water safe for drinking.
A simple garden system can be easily and creatively self-designed to suit your particular needs with common components bought or recycled. If a larger system is required for household use, professional advice should be sought. Whatever the reason, use and size of the system, water is a valuable and precious resource that should not be taken for granted.

Containment Solutions has a general video that is useful and applicable to any size of rainwater harvesting system. Its instructions and components are universal – relevant to a small system with recycled parts or a commercially available system. Follow these fundamental steps and harvest water for household use or garden/yard irrigation.

4 Responses

  1. I live in an area with frequent droughts, in the Western U.S. I read we are supposed to have a heavy El Nino season this year with possible flooding. I am trying to figure out how to store water long term for when it all dries out again. Not so easily done unless you can seal up the tanks. Most things dry out quickly in our 38-46 degree Celsius (100-115 Fahrenheit) summers. Our summers are long, it starts getting hot in May and doesn’t start cooling much until October.Not sure how to do this long term in such a dry area.

  2. Living Off The Grid certainly makes you realize just how wasteful people are today. At that rate, we will run out of resources for living like consumer cattle the government wants us to be. And it is also clear that living the way nature intended us to eliminates much of the destructive environment hating entities we call government and corporations.

    Water catching works excellent if you live in an underground home. Use large water tanks and diverters and filters and you end up with pure “raw” water. Then attach lines or hoses to the lower part of the tanks to run “down” to the house. Gravity will create lots of pressure in your water lines. You can pipe the water “as is” to a toilet providing you have installed a drain that still runs lower than the house floor level (easy). And you can also use traditional water faucets. Instant water just like on the grid. You can pipe some of the water from the tank to a water heater tank (usually wood burn), and pipe that down to the hot side of your sink faucet in the house. Anytime you need hot water, just throw a stick of wood under the water heater tank and wait a bit. The water will stay nice and toasty for quite awhile. Long enough to get used. This system can all be piped to work just like a regular home. But 100% rainwater sourced and ZERO electricity. A very simple system that WILL be put in place as soon as my wife and I build our home. I also forgot to mention, you can run a pre and post “filtration” line for the cold (and/or hot) of your water faucet. you can turn off the filter when using water to wash dishes or whatever. Just turn it on when you need water for cooking or drinking. This would be the filter that takes out ALL contaminants. A simple and effective add-on to the existing water line coming into the house. there are all kinds of shut off valves and diverters for water lines. be creative to make things work. And just think about the good pride you get for doing it yourself and being self reliant. No more “the man” to take care of you.

    Imagine all those people living the modern, traditional “gridded” lifestyle. They might have a two story home, a couple of high dollar cars, swimming pool, and tons of other luxuries. But they own NOTHING. They keep making payments because they are trapped in the corporatized scheme of things. Our government wants “consumer cattle” where we do nothing but work for them and use what we earn to consumer what they provide. We’re no better than a cow. Trust me. The beginning of a life off the grid is often difficult. But only because we have gotten soft and lazy. Do it for awhile and see just how healed you are inside. You will realize just how poisoned our mind and body have become. And it tells us just how poisonous our government is in this world.

  3. I remember living in a house 40+yrs ago where the only water came from a tank on the roof. All mum did was use an ordinary strainer to strain out the dead insects before boiling it for drinking. As this was the north of New Zealand we drank cold water rather than hot drinks so it had to be stored in covered jugs, but we were never ill. I see no reason why more people can’t do something similar today. Oh, sorry I forgot – you can’t have 3 showers and do 5 loads of washing a day as seems to be the norm now. Silly me. Incidentally, we are a household of 4 adults and I manage to cope with 5 loads of washing A WEEK and we have a 10min shower once a day. So far the neighbours and friends haven’t complained about smells etc.

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