xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Rainwater Collection ~ The Prepared Guy

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rainwater Collection

I purposefully left this out of my post on water as I wanted to share with you my little setup for collecting rainwater at our home. 

The purpose and the way I have set this collection system up is primarily for watering our garden. Utah water rights also extend to collecting rainwater from your rooftop. Rainwater collection on a large(r) scale needs to be registered with the state but a small collection system like I have built is exempt. Make sure to check with your local division of water rights to ensure that you are in compliance. Here are the guidelines for rainwater collection in Utah.

  • To collect, store, and place the captured precipitation to a beneficial use, a person must register the use with the Utah Division of Water Rights as detailed in 73-3-1.5.
  • A person may collect and store precipitation without registering in no more than two covered storage containers if neither covered container has a maximum storage capacity of greater than 100 gallons.
  • The total allowed storage capacity with registration is no more than 2,500 gallons. Collection and use are limited to the same parcel of land on which the water is captured and stored.
  • There is no charge for registration.
When I decide to expand our collection system I have the ability to do so simply by registering with the state.

As it says above, the collected water must be put to 'Beneficial Use'.  Beneficial uses include such uses as domestic use, irrigation, stock-watering, manufacturing, mining, hydropower, municipal use, aquaculture, recreation, fish and wildlife, among others.

I have found that even with a short light rain storm these two 55 gallon drums will fill to overflowing.  With our small garden I am able to water it two to three times depending upon how hot the weather is.  That really isn't much water and with how infrequently we get rain in Utah they don't stay full very long, but I believe that they could make a difference when it really counts.  

I have configured this set up so that I can easily add additional barrels.  As you can see in the pictures I have re-routed our down pipes and used a flexible pipe to make the connection to the barrels which I will easily be able to manually change over to a second barrel when the first fills.  

The barrels you see are food grade barrels with a lid that seals and clamps shut. Your system could be a simple as placing an open barrel under a down spout.  I have chosen to keep these barrels closed to keep debris and bugs out of the barrels.  I also have a metal screen in the rain gutter to keep out large debris.  The connection between the flexible pipe and the barrel is a 4" black PVC male coupler with a 4" rubber gasket over the threads on the inside of the tank to keep it in place.  The flexible pipe is simply seated in place and fits quite snug.  I have installed a standard 3/4" threaded hose bib with a 3/4" galvanized coupler, metal electrical washers and cut washers from 1/16" thick rubber packing at the lowest possible point on the barrel.  This allows me to easily connect a hose which makes watering the garden much more convenient.       


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The purpose of this site is to provide you with information about what I have learned, my experience, and what my motivations are as a Prepared Guy. I have always felt driven to be ready for any situation by something powerful deep inside me. Being prepared has always served me well. I feel compelled to help others do the same.
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