Rain Barrels

Would rain barrels benefit your community?

What is it?

A rain barrel collects and stores rainwater from the roof of a building. Catching the rain in a barrel prevents it from going down the storm drain and into the river. The barrel connects to the downspouts, so rain barrels are only work on buildings that have downspouts. The water collected by a rain barrel can be used to water your garden, saving about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months. Students can host rain barrel workshops as a great way to engage with the community and educate the public about stormwater issues.

How much would it cost?

  • $50 - $75 per barrel

What long-term maintenance is required?

Each fall, you will need to disconnect the barrel from the downspout and drain it. The barrel can be damaged if the water inside freezes. You also might need to occasionally clean leaves and other debris out of the barrel (especially if your barrel does not have a screen at the opening).

Who are some potential partners?

  • Local barrel supplier (in Grand Rapids, this could be WMEAC)

  • Community venues to host workshops

How could I determine if the project is successful?

  • Count the number of barrels installed

  • Calculate the volume of rainwater captured

Where can I find more information?

  • Contact a local conservation organization to find local sources of barrels and other assistance.

  • Check out the Rain Barrel Guide for more information about installing and using your rain barrel.