Rainwater Barrels

Create your own or find out where to buy

Last Modified: May 01, 2012
Parts needed to create a Rainwater Barrel

Rainwater Barrels are water tanks used to collect and store rain water runoff, typically from rooftops via rain gutters. Rainwater barrels are devices for collecting and maintaining harvested rain.

Rainwater barrels are installed to use rain water at a later time, reduce water use and aid self-sufficiency. Stored water may be used for watering gardens, agriculture, flushing toilets, in washing machines, washing cars, and also for drinking, especially when other water supplies are unavailable, expensive, or of poor quality, and that adequate care is taken that the water is not contaminated or the water is adequately filtered.

Rainwater barrels may have a high perceived initial cost. However, many homes can use small scale rain barrels to harvest minute quantities of water for landscaping/gardening applications rather than as a potable water surrogate. Learn how to create your own rainwater barrel to use at your home with these instructions.

Where To Buy Rainwater Barrels

Don't want to make your own rainwater barrel? Find out where you can buy them.

Cary Locations

Buy a 65 gallon barrel for $87

  • Bond Park Community Center, 150 Metro Park Drive, 919-462-3970
  • Herbert C. Young Community Center, 404 N. Academy St., 919-460-4965
  • Middle Creek Community Center, 123 Middle Creek Park Ave., 919-771-1295

Sale Hours
9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday (Year-round)
1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Sunday (After Labor Day until Memorial Day)

See more information on Cary's website

Durham County

Buy a 65 gallon barrel for $90

Call 919-560-0558 Please make payment (cash or check) to Durham SWCD

Wake Forest

Buy a 65 gallon barrel for $90

Available on Wake Forest's website

Create your own rainwater barrel

Completed Project

This is a guide to making a rain barrel at home by using a heavy duty plastic trash can. It only takes a few minutes and the cost savings are substantial.

Parts you'll need

1 - Heavy duty trash can
1 - 1/2" Hose bib
1 - 6" Chimney pipe trim collar
2 - 1/2" Faucet tailpipe nuts
2 - #15 O-rings
1 - 1/2" Threaded nipple
1 - 1/2" Threaded PVC extender
4 - Small screws
1 - piece 7"x 7" nylon screen


  • Drill w/ screw tip
  • 3/4" paddle drill bit
  • Tin Snips or Jig Saw


  1. Drill 3/4" hole approximately 3" to 4" from bottom of barrel.
  2. Drill 3/4" hole near top of barrel
  3. Screw 1/2" treaded nipple into hose bib and insert into bottom hole.
  4. Slide O-ring over treaded nipple from inside of barrel and screw on Faucet tailpipe nut until secure.
  5. Insert 1/2" Treaded PVC extender into upper hole.
  6. Slide O-ring onto treaded end from inside and secure with faucet tailpipe nut.
  7. Cut 5" hole in trash can lid using tin snips or jigsaw.
  8. Trim nylon screening to fit Chimney pipe trim collar.
  9. Place screen, then trim cover over hole in lid and attach with screws.
  10. It is recommended to sit rain barrel on two concrete block to provide for level surface.
  11. Total construction time averages 10 to 15 min and the cost is approximately $45 depending on size of trash can purchased.

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