I recently helped my father install a 275 gallon rainwater collection system.
The system is based on an industrial 275 gallon container, known as an IBC. You can buy them used, or if you really look around, you can even find them for free. One problem with typical rain-barrels is that they can only collect 55 gallons. This rain storage container collects FIVE times that volume, while not taking up all that much more space than a single rain-barrel.
In my area, you can buy used IBCs through Craigslist for about $85 each. Those come with a metal cage around them that allows them to be stacked.
Instead of buying them, I found a local bottler who throws them out, because they are plastic containers WITHOUT the metal cages. These containers come to the bottler full of 275 gallons of high-fructose corn syrup. I got several containers from them for free, for just the elbow grease of going to pick them up. Some were wrapped in heavy cardboard. I recycled the cardboard into a clubhouse for my little girl.
After washing the container out well, it is ready to be repurposed for rainwater collection. I really like the irony of using GMO corn syrup containers to recycle into a conservation project!
Besides the water container, this project requires other materials, including:
- Misc wood to build a simple pallet or platform
- Garden hose spigot and hardware
- Gutter screen and fiberglass bug screen
- Gutters, downspouts, and elbows
- Silicon or other appropriate caulk or sealant
In our case, nearly all the materials were already on-hand, reusing old components, and recycling and repurposing materials. Total out of pocket expenses were under $20.
Beyond the typical DIY and handyman tools, you will need:
Tin snips, utility knife, pop-rivetter and rivets, sheet metal screws, and related aluminum metal-working tools and skills.
Lets get started.
EDIT: July 2013, we updated this to TRIPLE the capacity, raised the containers, and made them look really nice. See the update at: http://ecoprojecteer.net/2013/07/rainwater-collection-gets-bigger-part-2/