Rainwater Projects for Off-Grid Homes

Make the most of nature’s gifts on your homestead by harnessing and moving rainwater with these inventive builds.

| Jan/Feb 2019

  • All it takes to catch rainwater is a roofline, a gutter with piping, and a holding tank.
    Photo by Getty Images/iStockphoto
  • Make sure that your holding tank is above your water input level.
    Photo by Getty Images/George Clerk
  • This tank can hold 1,500 gallons of rainwater
    Photo by Shannon Stonger
  • Harnessing your own water can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars annually.
    Photo by Getty Images/iStockphoto
  • You need to create a level platform for your holding tank to sit on.
    Photo by Shannon Stonger
  • Your holding tank must be below your roofline and gutters in order to catch rainwater properly.
    Photo by Shannon Stonger
  • The Stongers use a portion of their rainwater to provide clean water to the animals on their homestead.
    Photo by Kyryl Gorlov
  • The amount of water you can transport with this tower depends on the height and strength of the tower.
    Photo by Shannon Stronger
  • Water towers can help you transport water horizontally acorss your homestead.
    Photo by Getty Images/iStockphoto
  • Creating your homestead doesn’t have to be expensive or overly complicated.
    Courtesy of Page Street Publishing Co.

Since moving to our property, our main source of all drinking, washing, animal, garden, and orchard water has been rainfall. We have no well, not because we wouldn’t like one, but rather because rainwater makes good economic sense in our dry region. Once the infrastructure of roofline, piping, and tanks are bought and paid for, it’s as simple as waiting — and often praying — for rain.

Catching, Calculating, and Filtering Rainwater

Water infrastructure is critically important. For that reason, we decided to hire out the work of putting up a roofline, a catchwater tank, and gutters before we even moved to our land. We drove south from Michigan to Texas during one of the driest summers in history, but just a few days before we arrived, 5 inches rained down on the parched earth, and our tank was filled and ready for us when we arrived.

To catch rainwater, you need three things in place: a roofline, a gutter with piping, and a holding tank.

We currently use three black tanks totaling 5,500 gallons of holding capacity. Those tanks, along with our ponds, provide all the water we use for animals, fruit trees, gardens, and ourselves. It’s a good start at catching what we might need to carry us through the frequent dry months between rains.

In our experience in a drier climate, you can’t have too much water, whether it’s stored in tanks or utilized on the land properly. We tend to get rainfall in fits and spurts, so it’s imperative that when it comes, we’re ready and able to catch and store it.

It’s not uncommon, in our area, to see a roofline that seems to have no other purpose than to catch water. But if you have a home, garage, barn, or other structure in place, you can set up gutters and a tank, and start catching rainwater right away for both outdoor and indoor use.

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