Rain Barrel Fact Sheet

What is a rain barrel?

A rain barrel is any type of container used to catch water flowing from a downspout. Rain barrels reduce the amount of stormwater runoff by collecting roof runoff and storing the rainwater for future use. The rain barrel is placed underneath a shortened downspout, diverting the roof runoff into the rain barrel. Placing the rain barrel on a STURDY platform will allow for more clearance under the spigot, plus also will increase the rate of flow if you are attaching a hose to the barrel’s spigot.

What are the benefits of rain barrels?

  • Keep water out of storm and combined sewer systems
  • Protect our rivers, lakes, and streams from runoff pollution
  • Control moisture levels around foundation of home
  • Provide oxygenated, un-chlorinated water, ideal for plants
  • Direct overflow to where you want it
  • Reduce water and wastewater bills
  • Conserve water in the summer months, when demand is the highest.

What are drawbacks of rain barrels?

The water collected in rain barrels is not suitable for human and pet consumption. Due to the lack of research data, water collected in a rain barrel is not recommended for watering edible vegetable gardens.

How can you determine if your property is suitable for rain barrels?

  • Rain barrels are a good option for homes and buildings with downspouts that discharge onto driveways, sidewalks, and other paved surfaces, or steep slopes.
  • Lawn, gardens or other landscaping that requires frequent watering.
  • You can install multiple rain barrels, in series, to a single downspout.
  • You can also connect a single rain barrel to several leaders draining different portions of your roof.

How much does it cost? What do I need to make my own rain barrel?

There are many possible configurations to a rainwater collecting system. Costs vary considerably as well. You can spend anywhere from about $70 to $300.  Generally rain barrels are relatively inexpensive, depending on whether you create your own or buy a commercially made barrel.  One can usually find recycled plastic barrels available at low cost at farm supply stores, and all the connectors and accessories at general hardware store.

Recommended info and tutorials on rain barrels:



Do-It-Yourself Rain Barrel tutorial by GMCG: