Ridiculously easy ways on how to store rain-water in homes

So basically we are plumbers and we love to travel, explore, research, write and learn. It’s a weird cycle and can be exhausting but it’s good; enjoyable enough. Lately we’ve been in Africa, been exploring for a while, the culture, the style and whatever is related to plumbing, if we find any. However, it’s been raining season as its being called around here and an interesting thing was discovered, they store an awful lot of rainwater when it’s available by any means, which is not common in the other parts of the world.

Africa in most parts are more or less like free zones, everyone here is almost free to do whatever they want with less rules and regulations to be followed yet the people are very self-conscious on how they are perceived in terms of good and well-being that they self-check themselves even when they don’t really have to, it’s a beauty, cultural richness we’d call it. The same applies to the thesis  they employ for rain water storage, it could be done poorly; they could be reckless, but it’s not; they understand the concept of storing and keeping water clean in the best ways they can, to use for domestic, commercial and agricultural purposes.

So here’s what we’re going to have done in this article, we were able to do researches on what methods they employed and all noticed will be explained below; added details of established ways of storing rain water  from other parts of the world will be also be explained and steps to both will be highlighted. Before setting out to get a tank, a barrel or to employ any means to store water in your house or area, you have to ensure they are legal and permitted to avoid sanctions and penalties by law. Let’s get started.



Use of tarpaulin-like materials in sumps;

 A tarpaulin (a tarp) is a heavy, waterproof sheet of material used as a cover or blanket; it can also be used as clothing. The material is quite water proof, so nothing liquid goes through it easily. However, rurally they use materials that are “similar in being waterproof” to store and preserve water such as nylon, oil clothes etc… Getting tarpaulins can be hard and expensive so they go for next available material mostly, “Polyester!”  The aim of this method is to gather and store water  on a short term basis; to quickly use for the community, to water crops, for quick consumption, any reason you might need water for. So here’s how it’s done;

Materials needed:

A water proof fabric
Heavy objects preferably stones


  • A high spot should be located within your area of use; somewhere ideal enough to reach where you would like to utilize water, at the same time this spot should be high enough to allow for gravity flow of water. If a high spot can’t be found because it might be too tedious or non-existent, just pick a spot nearby on flat land.
  • Dig that area / create a hole to a depth you’re fine with (4-6 feet should be enough); something similar to what a small pond would look like. Have in mind that this doesn’t have to be extremely or fairly deep at all but it can be wide enough as it’s just for temporary storage.
  • After hole has been dug, spread material covering all internal parts of the dug hole with no overlapping edges in it. The material has to be large enough to cover hole and extend outside the hole without lapping
  • Have heavy objects on the side to hold material in place; stones can be used
  • Then just leave it there to do its thing; rain falls within that area, the hole fills up and you can have water in them for use; if you require this method to store water frequently or over a long period of time, it will need that this method will be a little bit refined to have dug hole last longer (i.e. having proper constructs around to retain its state) but its best used as a passive water storage technique; having it for a long time will have negative effects besides, it is not the best.


Use of buckets;

The use of buckets is a traditional way of capturing rain water during its season although it does require a level of humorous search and an existing roof groove of some sorts. Its humorous because as an individual trying to capture rainwater from your roof, you have to move around your shelter looking for wear water is dripping from the roof the most and the stars have to be in line for you to find an adequate line of dropping rain water to gather water effectively, or the roof sheets can just be structured to have grooves. It makes it all easier.

The steps are simple;

  • Get a large bucket; sizable enough to get a good amount of water and easy enough to carry when filled.
  • Find a suitable point when the water is pouring from the roof substantially; make sure it’s not an obstruction point and a point that doesn’t cause likely harm to anything around it.
  • Place bucket underneath and it fills up.





Exploiting the down pour of rain to store and preserve during its season is a brilliant idea. This method utilizes it well as the rooftop acts as water catchment surface where water is collected. We’ve heard of no better way to take full advantage of the raining season so far; this method is quite cheap and easy to achieve. The water is relatively pure for consumption by both humans and plants but the argument made is although the rain water is good, the fact that it goes through the roof gutters to be stored is the problem; we’re going to explore the various conventional methods required to gather, store water and how it can simply be done to prevent health hazards. The conventional rain water storage system includes:

  • The catchment system; otherwise known as the roof sheets, on which water lands and moves into the gutters.
  • The transportation system; basically the gutter that carries rainwater from the roof sheets, channeling them into the down spouts.
  • First flush system; these are conventional filtering mechanisms like filters or sieves placed at various points of the system to prevent debris or solid objects from entering storage container.
  • Filter systems; this last bit can be termed as optional, These are advanced filtering methods implemented to purify captured water if you deem it necessary, it can be done by specialists or you can just do it yourself with the right materials, click HERE to learn more on purification methods, it’s a great article.

Rainwater harvesters can collect about 80% of rainfall from rooftops; a  moderate roof top can store about 600 gallons of water over an hour of moderate rain fall although storage requires proper structural support to retain large mass of water if that’s your intention, now to the conventional methods;

Surface water collection with the use of barrels and tanks;

This method is a common one which basically utilizes the roof gutter to pass rain water through the roof spouts into the tanks. It’s a collection system that is used in most areas where collection of rain water is legal. So you’d be needing the items below

Materials and tools needed:

Materials Tools
Barrels or tank Drilling machine with a hole saw drill bit
Roof spout/ down pipe Cutting blade
Filter Screw driver
PVC pipe/ PEX pipe Screws and nails
Discharge tap / spigot Hammer
Wooden / concrete base Saw


Steps to take;

  • Ensure roofs, gutters, tanks or barrels are properly washed, cleansed and made ready for rainfall
  • Examine the house, locate where your roof gutters channel the rain water to and highlight the spot.
  • Have a solid base for your tank or barrels provided; it could be either wood or a concrete to resist the weight of container and serve as an ideal flat base.
  • Connect roof spout to the roof gutter at the spot , and have a filter at the connection, if there are existing roof spouts, place filters at the connection of gutter to down spout and use spout to channel the rain water to the top of the tank or barrel

roof filter

  • Cut open an entry for the water on top of the barrel if there are none and set filter on the opening space you just cut; the filter prevents debris and solid objects from entering the barrel.

tank filtercut

  • Tanks are readily formed so in most cases, you’re good to go but if you might want to create one or multiple storage barrels for water; simply drill a hole at the bottom of barrel; about 15 cm from the bottom with a hole saw drill bit and do the same to the second barrel.
  • Connect both holes on both barrels with use of a PVC pipe or better, a PEX pipe
  • Connect barrels with use of braces to hold them both together in place.
  • Create an overflow port and have pea gravels on the side of barrel / last barrel to prevent flooding.
  • Drill a hole on an adjacent side of the previously drilled hole on one of the tank and fix the discharge tap/spigot with a water proof sealant.

grand view

There you have it; your surface storage barrels or tank are done and ready for rainwater.


Underground water collection with the use of barrels and tanks;

The collection of rain water to underground functions around the same concept of the surface collection, its just, this time?…The water is moved to an underground container, which is better as regards to what we know and what we’ve learned. The same techniques from the roof through the gutters into containers can be done. However, what is distinctive in its collection method is that channeling pipe (roof spout) goes underground to whatever container is there Underground storage of water requires pump for water to be moved from tank to its point of use, so you should consider that. Let’s get into the steps;

Materials and tools needed:

Materials Tools
Barrels or tank Drilling machine with a hole saw drill bit
Roof spout Cutting blade
Filter Screw driver
1 inch pvc pipe; 1 length Screws
Discharge tap Shovel /digger/ excavator


Steps to take;

  • Inspection of the housing and roofing structure; firstly a thorough inspection of your roof should be made, take note on how the roof channels the rain water into the gutters and how the gutter moves them into the roof spouts (if there are any) . Highlight the spots with highest downpours and examine if your basement can be used for water storage or if you’d need to have to dig to place your tank in them. Foundation of the home should also be taken into consideration.

NOTE; barrels are not ideal for use when considering placing your storage unit under the ground

  • Decide on where to place your underground tank either in the basement or under the ground away from your foundation, the first option requires creating a passage for roof spout to transport water to the basement while the latter requires that you dig a trench and a hole into the ground to install and bury your tank in.


  • Purchase your needed tank and have them placed in your preferred positions; Tank of various sizes, material and structure can be utilized, we created an article writing on the best tanks to use for your home, it’ll be helpful if you can go through that for your choice of tanks.
  • Link roof spout into the tank; an opening the size of the spout can be cut by the side of the tank about 5 inches from the top, insert roof spout into the opening and use a sealant to prevent entry of water from the sides.


Water storage with the use of conical inlets;

This method can be very extravagant but it’s an option one can consider, it doesn’t have to involve the use of your roof at all. A large inverted cone like drain is just set up with a filter at the transition end and is linked to the storage tank.

This process if to be implemented requires a professional to fabricate cone structure, it is capital intensive but can be utilized if properly maintained.

inverted cone


  • Storing rainwater helps control floodings.
  • Provides natural water supplies to people in areas which have no access to water sources.
  • An adequate source of water for irrigating crops.
  • Reduces soil erosion in particular regions.
  • Reduces the cost of water bills.
  • Relatively cheap to have and install.
  • Environmental friendliness.