DIY: Rain Barrels

My wife loves me. How can I tell, you ask? Lots of reasons really, but one specific way is that she buys me nice things. Not expensive, rare, or the latest cultural rage, but things that she knows I will enjoy, use and cherish because she knows me inside and out. She puts a lot of effort into gift giving, a perfect example of which was my birthday two years ago. At the end of a treasure hunt, complete with clues to follow, was the subject of this DIY post: A “Raincatcher 6000” rain barrel (I assume the 6000 means how many ounces of water it will hold), which features a screen to remove debris and keep mosquitoes from laying eggs, an overflow pipe to route water through when it is full, and stubs that you can cut off and connect to other barrels to set up a series of them if you wanted to. She knows me so well…


The mighty Raincatcher 6000, in all its glory!

The mighty Raincatcher 6000 in all its glory!


I was excited. Not “we got a new puppy” excited, but the genuine “I’ll use this for a long time” kind of excited. The rain barrel holds 54 gallons of what more and more people are beginning to realize is the most precious resource that exists on this earth. Not to mention that the mentality of saving rain runoff in order to use it later during dry periods, as well as avoiding paying for commercially available water, fits perfectly into our self-sufficient, waste-not,  crunchy conservative world view. I personally love the idea of capturing rain water for personal use, whether that means gardens, crops, etc or home use. Obviously I’m not routing the contents of this water barrel into the house to brush my teeth with, but don’t think I didn’t momentarily consider it. We use it to fill watering cans for our flower pots, garden, etc… and occasionally to keep our son occupied outside for a while! As you can see, setting the barrel up for use was simple:

Remove gutter pipe at nearest link...

Remove the vertical gutter pipe at the nearest link…

Set up blocks on either side of diverter, making sure they are level

Set up blocks on either side of diverter, making sure they are level…

Set the barrel on the blocks, attach flexible drain pipe...

Set barrel on the blocks, attach flexible drain pipe to gutter…


Finished product, ready to collect that precious H2O!!

Angle flexible pipe into top of barrel…


Rain Barrel 6

Finished product, ready to collect that precious H2O!!

In the spirit of full disclosure, you need to check local laws before asking for a Raincatcher 6000 for Christmas. In one of the most asinine examples of government over-reaching their bounds, it is actually illegal in some states to capture rain water for personal use. The government has decided that they own that water, and as soon as it hits your roof it becomes property of the state. Ridiculous I know, but this and a thousand other examples exist to remind citizens to keep their guard up against the slow slide away from personal liberties. I’ve heard it said that the next world war won’t be fought over oil, it will be fought over water. If that is the case, me and my 54 gallons will likely be in the middle of it all! Check into it, and let me know… is capturing rainwater illegal where you live?

Paul Sig

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2 Responses to DIY: Rain Barrels

  1. Andrea says:

    Yep, it’s illegal here in Colorado! I will have to check on the laws in Texas though, if we ever get there!

    • It’s infuriating, isn’t it? I think this is one of those things that people blow off as “silly” or a “nuisance law” until it really matters, and by then it is too late… the man has you right where he wants you!! Maybe that’s a little too much conspiracy theory, but I do believe that folks are just beginning to understand the importance and value of clean, fresh water.

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