build a fish pond

Rainwater Collection System

Building a Rain water Collection System will be a lot cheaper and Eco-friendly to fill your pond then tap water.

This article fully explains how to build a rainwater collection system. It has step by step instructions and it also has a video. I copied this article off of Wiki How I hope you enjoy it.

Recycle your rainwater and keep your landscaping looking healthy, the eco-friendly way. Building a rain water collection system is fast, easy and can save you money on your water bill, as well as significantly reduce your total water usage.


    1. Cut a bucket to create the top of your rainwater tank.
      • The top of your rain water collection system is made by cutting the top off a five gallon / 10 liter bucket. An important thing to keep in mind when putting together your rain collection system is that standing water can be a haven for mosquitoes. The top will be used to secure a paint strainer to the top of the bucket, thereby keeping large objects and mosquitoes from getting into the barrel and spoiling your water supply.
      • With your 7/8”/ 2.2cm spade bit already attached to your power drill, put a hole in the side of the five gallon bucket to get your jigsaw rolling and cutting easily.
    2. Use your permanent marker and the top of the five gallon bucket and trace around the top of the 55 gallon / 210 liter drum.
      • Just like you cut the starter hole on the five gallon bucket, use your drill with the 7/8inches / 2.2cm spade bit and put a hole in the top of the 55 gallon / 210 liter drum.
      • Follow the guideline around the top of the barrel.
      • The top of the five gallon bucket should fit snug in the opening of the 55 gallon / 210 liter drum.
    3. Spout it out. No one likes a leaky spout – especially when the whole point of your rainwater collection system is to reduce the amount of wasted water.
      • A sure way to get your spout to fit nice and tight into the bottom of your 55 gallon / 210 liter drum is to drill a hole using your 7/8” spade bit.
      • Take your half-round file and file down the inside of the hole until you have a nice fit.
      • Screw the ¾” / 2cm spigot in securely.
      • When you have a good fit, set your drum up on cinder blocks.
    4. Add a gutter extension.
      • Using the existing downspout from your gutters, add an extension to run down into the collection barrel. Any hardware store will carry a variety of extension and fittings for this. Make sure to save the receipt so you can return any of the unused fittings. That way the hardware store can take the financial hit for your lack of accuracy.
    5. Measure and mark where you need to cut the fitting so that the end will run into the top of your rain water collection barrel.
      • Most fittings are made of flexible plastic and can be cut with a utility knife.
      • It may be necessary to use a splice to fit the end of your existing downspout into the extension. Push these two pieces together until they are nice and snug.
      • Use brackets to secure the fitting to side of your house.
    6. Ensure a proper fit. Before retiring your jigsaw for the day, you need to cut a hole in the lid of your 5 gallon / 10 liter bucket, as this will keep large objects from falling into the collection barrel.
      • Measure around the opening of your drain.
      • Use the 7/8th inch / 2.2cm spade bit to drill a starter hole.
      • Cut the remainder of the lid with your jigsaw.
      • Place the lid on the top of the bucket to check for proper fit.
    7. Strain the drain. To prevent the collected organic matter from hanging too far down into the rain barrel, tie a knot in the strainer before installing it into the lid.
    8. Place a gutter strain in the gutter on your roof. This will keep large debris from working its way down the fittings and potentially clogging the gutters. You will have to get up near the rooftop to clean this type of strainer.
    9. Enjoy using your rainwater collection system. Not only does it save water and your pocketbook, it's so much fun! You may never need to recruit help around the yard again.

    Rain Water Collection Tips

    • Check for free buckets and drums online at Craigslist, or ask at local hardware stores, car washes, stables, farms etc.
    • Plastic downspout fittings are extremely durable.
    • Keep your gutters free from debris, particularly maple tree seeds. These can easily overwhelm the best strainers

    Rain Water Collection Warnings

    • Check the legality of doing this with your local city officials, as it is illegal in many areas to collect and hold any kind of water for re-use. E.g. Colorado, US[1]
    • Water collected from rooftops will also contain chemical components from the composition roofing.
    • Older roofing systems occasionally contain fasteners contaminated with cadmium sulfate. These fasteners have not been used for many years, but may still be present in dry areas where roofs have a longer life.
    • This water is not suitable for human consumption, however it is the same water that was washing onto the lawn prior to the addition of the collection system.
    • Many parts of the earth receive 'acid rain.' The rainwater combines with sulfur compounds that come from burned coal and form sulfuric acid. This is a global phenomenon. The pH of the rainfall rises after the first five minutes of a downpour, and the molarity of the acidic water is fairly low.
    • Do not drink rain water, but the water can be used to water plants, wash things, for bathrooms, etc.

    Things You'll Need for A Rainwater Collection

    • 1 paint strainer
    • 1 5 gallon / 10 liter bucket
    • 1 55 gallon / 210 liter drum with a lid
    • downspout fittings
    • 1 gutter strainer
    • 3 cinder blocks
    • 1 3/4" / 2cm spigot with 1/4" / 65cm turn ball valve
    • 1 permanent black marker
    • 1 jigsaw
    • 1 powerdrill with 7/8" / 2.2cm spade bit
    • 1 half-round bastard file
    • 1 utility knife
    • 1/4" / 65cm galvanized wood screws

    Sources and Citations

    • RWH A case study is given to understand the basic process of collection and use of rainwater.
    • VideoJug A video of building a rainwater collection system. Original source of this article. Shared with permission and appreciation.
    • Innovative Water Solutions - Find out about other rainwater collection system designs and ideas.
    1. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/natres/06702.html

    All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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  • 1 inch of rainfall on a 2,000 sq. ft. residential roof generates 1,250 gallons of water that can be reused.
  • That same roof in a region receiving 30 inches of annual rainfall generates 41,000 gallons of reusable water.
  • The average US household with a 10,000 square foot lot uses 5,000 gallons of water weekly for landscape irrigation.
  • Running a sprinkler for 2 hours can use up to 500 gallons of water.

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