Fish & Water
About this Guide
You will learn the basics of small-scale rainwater harvesting including how to design and build your own rain barrel in a watershed-friendly home landscape.
The information presented draws heavily from the Carolina Clear Rainwater Harvesting for Homeowners manual.1 We are grateful to Clemson University Extension for permitting their resources for adaptation to Alabama.
Rainwater Harvesting in Alabama was created as part of the Alabama Watershed Stewards Program (AWS), an educational training developed by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in cooperation with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Alabama Water Watch with the Auburn Water Resources Center, and other local and regional partners. The purpose of AWS is to promote healthy watersheds, increase understanding of potential causes of water pollution and resource degradation, and provide the knowledge and tools needed to prevent and resolve water-quality problems.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1 Benefits of Rainwater Harvesting
- Reducing Negative Impacts of Stormwater Runoff
- Reducing Amount of Drinkable Water Used for Outdoor Irrigation
- Chapter 2 Basics of Rainwater Harvesting
- What Is It?
- Rainfall in Alabama
- Chapter 3 Planning Ahead
- Moving Water from Rooftop to Rain Barrel
- Identifying Where to Install
- Preparing Your Site
- Chapter 4 DIY Rain Barrel Construction
- Points to Consider
- Getting Started
- Design 1: Pickle or Olive Barrel
- Design 2: Screened-Top Soda Barrel
- Chapter 5 Maintenance
- Chapter 6 Moving and Storing Water
- Multiple Barrels
- Chapter 7 Using Your Rainwater Harvest
- Irrigating Edibles
- Chapter 8 Rain Barrel Aesthetics
- Painting Your Rain Barrel
- A More Natural Way to Make Your Rain Barrel Attractive
- Using Your Landscape to Collect Rainwater
- Other Ways to Conserve Water
- Resources, Links, and Information
- Other Guides on Rainwater Harvesting
This project was funded by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management through a Clean Water Act Section 319(h) nonpoint source partnership grant provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 (Southeast).
Laura Bell, Project Coordinator; Eve Brantley, Extension Resources Specialist and Professor; Naomi Pitts, Watershed Program Assistant; and Caitlin Sweeney, Watershed Program Assistant, all with Alabama Extension Water Program, Auburn University
Special thanks to Rhonda Britton, Regional Extension Agent, for her contributions to this handbook.
New August 2021, A Homeowner’s Guide to Rainwater Harvesting in Alabama, ANR-2794