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What is the Right Size for a Rainwater Harvesting Tank?

Author: Pat Pape
by Pat Pape
Posted: Aug 31, 2015
water tank

If you are a serious fan of rainwater harvesting, you will need a serious water tank for rain collection. The typical 50-gallon rain barrel or 100-gallon water tank can’t collect enough rain to serve a large landscape or growing garden, according to Steven Sweeney, an enthusiastic home gardener and the president of Rain Harvesting Supplies, Inc., an online store ( that provides water tanks and rain harvesting necessities to professional installers and DIY customers.

People often think of the 50-gallon plastic barrel or 100-gallon tank when they consider rainwater harvesting for their own home landscape. However, these are small collection devices, and even a petite garden will require more water than these vessels can hold.

"Pure rainwater is perfect for turf and plants," said Sweeney. "It is soft water without the minerals or chemicals found in treated city water."

Anyone can collect rainwater if they have a roof to serve as a collection surface. Clean gutters and downspouts direct rain from the roof to the tank. A typical 25-foot by 40-foot roof will reap about 600 gallons of rainwater during a 1-inch rainfall.

"Many dedicated gardeners try small barrels at first and eventually replace it with a 1,000-gallon or larger water tank that stores much more," said Sweeney. "Gardeners hate seeing those small barrels overflowing during a good rain, which costs them precious water that they should be harvesting."

To install your water tank, place it on a flat surface near a downspout that is convenient to your lawn or flower beds. A rain barrel or small water tank will rely on gravity to provide the water pressure necessary for moving the rainwater through your water hose. For a larger tank, simply add an electric water pump that actually filters the rain before it goes into the tank. It helps deliver clean water with the appropriate amount of pressure when you turn on the hose. Rainwater is great for watering plants, washing cars and flushing toilets, but it is not drinkable unless specially treated.

"Check to ensure that rainwater collection is legal in your state," Sweeney said. "In a few states, such as Colorado, citizens are regulated when it comes to collecting rain for reuse, although those laws may soon change. Collecting rainwater is economical and great for the environment. When you use rainwater instead of municipal water, you are conserving a precious resource. Invest in a high-quality water tank that can store a considerable about of water. You’ll have water available when your garden needs it."

About the Author

Experienced professionals at Rain Harvesting Supplies, Inc. are available to help you select the right rainwater products at the right price. Featuring a comprehensive line of products for rainwater harvesting at

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Author: Pat Pape
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Pat Pape

Member since: Aug 31, 2015
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