How to save water on a rainy day

Get ideas for how to catch, store, and use rainwater with cisterns, barrels, and rain chains

Copper rainwater chain
Rob D. Brodman

Add a cistern

An inch of rain puts about 600 gallons of water atop a 1,000-square-foot house. Rain gutters capture it; from a downspout, you can direct it into a cistern to help water your garden.

At Islandwood Environmental Learning Center on Bain­bridge Island, Washington, three steel cisterns store rain­water from a nearby roof. By the time vegetables start growing in spring, the tanks are full and the water travels through a gravity-fed drip system to irrigate crops.

INFO Pictured cisterns are from Texas Metal Cisterns ($380 for 200-gallon size to $1,070 for 1,200-gallon size; texas metalcisterns.net).

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