For a permaculture class at our school, Maharishi University of Management, we decided as a team to build a rainwater catchment system. As it turned out, the university Sustainable Living department was already equipped with such a system, but upon our inspection, we discovered it was faulty or in disrepair in many areas. We undertook it as our project to the lean about rainwater catchment by repairing the one that already existed. So more than anything this instructable will help you to see the details of having a barrel rain water catchment system and how all the pieces fit together.

We hope this will be a helpful resource for your own endeavors to create a more sustainable and ecologically sound world by preserving and cultivating our most precious resource: water. 

Step 1: Materials and Preparation

 Because we were coming in and just reconstructing a system that had already been created, our steps were different that starting from scrap, but here I will include a list of materials you will need and the preliminary stages.

You will need: 

The Barrel
A barrel, and if a rain barrel for this purpose is not accessible a trash can or other type of barrel can also be turned into this. We used a two barrel system, but this can also be done with one barrel.

The Spigot and Hardware
A 3/4" hose bib spigot
A 3/4" galvanized lock
A rubber washer ring with a 1" diameter 
Teflon tape
Super Glue

The Overflow Valve and Hardware
3/4" brass overflow valve
Hose MIP adapter 3/4 x 3/4 x 1/2"
And the last for list items on the above list

1" hole saw or drill bit (use 15/16" for very secure fit)
Utility knife
Needle node pliers or wrench
Screw driver and 1/2 dozen screws
Meshscreen for top filter

I don't know if all of these exact materials were used in the making of our very own rain barrels, but this list is a pretty standard prep. list for any rain water catchment system. 

<p>I have found that if you get a piece of garden hose that will reach to the bottom of both barrels, ( make sure there is a foot of water in each barrel first) Fill the hose with water and without letting any water out submerge both ends of the hose one in each barrel it will automatically syphon water from one barrel to the other. This eliminates drilling holes in the barrels for connecting pipes.</p>
Here is a less complicated rain barrel kit<br> <br> http://www.rainbarrelparts.com/product_rbpEM_RSP_kits_rectangular.php<br> <br> I'd suggest a prefilter on the downspout like these:<br> http://www.aquabarrel.com/product_downspout_filters_slim_line.php<br> http://www.aquabarrel.com/product_downspout_filters_Barrel_Topper.php
I would screen the overflow overflow pipe to keep mosquitoes out. <br>They can fly in through the pipe, get into the barrel water a breed.... <br>and you would never know it. <br> <br>My system uses open top barrels with air tight seals and locking rings. <br>I have a fine mesh screen attached on the overflow pipe inside <br>of the barrel.inside the barrel. For the most part they stay clean.... <br>as long as your also screen the input opening of the barrel. <br> <br>One option is to use a fine mesh pool filter bag
Probably overkill, but I put a union between the two barrels because mine are outside, and I may take them apart and put them in the garage for the winter.

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More by PhoebeCheryllanne:How to Make a Rain Barrel Water Catchment System (Better) 
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