Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rain water collection - July 2012

Hard to believe that we went several years without a rain water catchment system at the casita.

In May I saw a barrel catchment system at a green workshop in Bastrop, Texas that used food grade 55 gallon drums to store the water. I liked their design, but I wanted to make a few modifications to fit our needs.

Our requirments:

  • Be able to fit a 5 gallon bucket under faucet.
  • Stand had to be able to hold weight of (2) 55 gallon drums. 110 gallons X 8.35 lbs = 918.5 lbs. 
  • Keep mosquitoes out. 

Our 'would-like-to-haves':

  • Be as freeze-proof as possible.
  • Not look like 2 crappy food grade 55 gallon drums sitting in front of the cabin.
  • I built the stand out of 4X4's and 2X6's. I made half-lap joints to secure the 2X6's to the 4X4's using 3/8" lag bolts to hold everything together. Time will tell, but I believe this design will easily hold approximately 1000 lbs. 
  • The stand is tall enough to fit a 5 gallon bucket under the faucet. 
  • All the vent holes are screened with window screen that is small enough to keep mosquitoes out. 
  • I used 2" PVC pipes to help prevent the pipes from freezing. I'm also going to wrap the pipes with insulation. 
  • We had fun painting the barrels. 
We still have some painting to finish on the barrels and I want to adjust some of the plumbing. It rained 3 consecutive afternoons while we were out there and we were able to collect about 35 gallons of rain water that we used to water our cactus garden. 


  1. QK...Bigfoot here.

    Just checked out your blog...and now I;m dying to see some more pics of the cabin and stuff. I got our place in Dec 2005...and still plinking away on the cabin.

    I got a 1350 gal black poly tank at a place in FTW for around $675 long ago, hauled it to the cabin and hooked it up. I thought, hell this will take a long time to fill up....but next trip in 6 was half full....then the 2nd trip back 6-8 week later...totally full. Every 1000SF of roof area=600 gals of water for a 1" rain event if you catch the entire roof area. That rain water is probably good enough to drink...but we, so far, have only used it for washing dishes and bathing. Need to plumb in a "first wash" cleaning device to catch the initial runoff of roof dust, bird poop, etc then the rest goes into the tank.

    Anyway....good blog start....pls keep it up.


  2. Bigfoot - thanks for checking out the blog and commenting. We will be plinking away on the cabin for awhile, we usually plan one major trip there a year for construction and several other visits to relax and work on small projects. I agree on the rain water collecting, we are not planning on drinking this water but use it for washing dishes, showers, water the cactus garden, etc. I hope to keep up this blogging to help document where we were and where we are going.

  3. We got a pricey $160 "Aqua-Rain" water filter...kinda like the Big Berky, I think...but not as expensive. Uses ceramic filters that can be cleaned and reused for a good while. Still in the box for now.