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Rainwater Catchment

Rainwater harvesting is one of the more interesting strategies to reduce personal water use. It helps infiltrate stormwater by catching it and storing it for use in summer watering.  A water catchment system for your home is simple to create and can be placed along your house, chicken coop, or any other unused space. 

Despite popluar misconception rainwater capture is legal in the state of California. The Rainwater Capture Act of 2012 not only allows Californians to capture runoff from roof tops, it also does not require a water right permit. For the bill in full click here.

Things to Consider When Harvesting Rain Water

  • Gutters: Gutters are helpful to divert the water from your roof to your tank or barrel.
  • Barrels:  New rain barrels can run up to $150 new, but here in the north state used food grade barrels are usually available at the below locations for $10-$20.
  • A screen on top of the barrel can keep out large debris will clog your hose bib and funktify your water.
  • Avoid catching the first rain of the year because the water will carry with it the pollution and debris that has been gathering all summer and fall.
  • Once your barrel is full put the lid back on to prevent algae and mosquitoes.
  • A Save the Rain diverter attaches to your downspout and can be helpful to open and close depending on if you want to catch rain or let it go to the ground.  You can also make your own for a lot less money.
  • For easiest use, attach a hose bib using the directions below.

Where to Get Used Barrels Locally

1) Surplus City in Oroville ($25). (530)534-9956
2) The Olive Hut in Corning (~$10). (530)824-5920
3) The trick to finding barrels is to Google olive producers and sellers and ask because their supplies change often.











Rain Barrel Making

making barrels











55 gallon used barrel, 1” Heavy duty hose bibb, Lock nut, Zinc plated flat washer, 100% Silicone sealant

1/2” Drill bit
Wrench for lock nut
Locking Pliers or Pipe wrench for hose bibb


1.  Clean rain barrel and let dry completely.

2.  Determine where hose bibb will be located on rain barrel and mark location.

3.  Use the drill bit and drill the hole for the hose bibb.

4.  Screw hose bibb into barrel as much as you can.  Try not to over tighten.

5.  Apply silicone sealant to one side of washer.

6. Get inside rain barrel and place washer over the hose bibb end so silicone forms seal against barrel.

7.  Hand tighten lock nut on hose bibb end.

8. Use the wrench to tighten lock nut.  Have your friend use the locking pliers or pipe wrench to hold the other side of hose bibb while you tighten lock nut.

9.  Wait for silicone to dry before filling barrel.

Helpful links
Greywater Action describes the benefits of catching rain.
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands is a great read for anyone wanting to learn more.
EEEco Chico provides a longer more in depth article about rainwater catchment.