Children Friendly Storm Water Activity: Building a Rain Barrel

By Hannah Buscemi, William Wirono, and Vanessa Studer

Following a rain or storm, hundreds of gallons of water flow from roofs of houses through downspouts, and eventually end up in our storm drains that empty out into our local lakes. In fact, with just one inch of rain, approximately 150 gallons of water are sent down the storm drain. That is a lot of water that could be utilized for various other productive activities, such as watering your plants! To raise awareness around storm water runoff, create your own rain barrel.

How to Build Your Own Rain Barrel:

Step 1. Gather the supplies

  • You will require a storage container that can catch 50 to 100 gallons of rainwater
  • Make sure to cut the upper part of the barrel to avoid overflow


Step 2. Put necessary cuts in your barrel

  • An inlet hole, where the water will flow in from the downspout
  • An overflow hole, about three inches from the top of the barrel
  • An outlet hole, about three inches from the bottom of the barrel


Step 3. Put the rain barrel together

  • Cover the hole with a spigot
  • Make sure that the spigot is able to withstand the water pressure inside the barrel to prevent draining


Step 4. Install the rain barrel

  • Position the barrel strategically
  • Use concrete to elevate the rain barrel
  • Rinse the rain barrel frequently to remove dirt

For more information on building your own rain barrel: https://water.unl.edu/documents/Build%20Your%20Own%20Rain%20Barrel%20opt.pdf


Photo by Edsle Little under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.