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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Driveways, Pools & Outdoor Living > Rain Harvesting

Rain Harvesting Cost


How Much Does Rain Harvesting Cost?

 
low costRain Barrel: $20-$300average costRain Garden: $100-$3,000+high costDry Well: $5-$5,000+
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Sometimes called a rainwater catchment system, rain harvesting is simply collecting and storing rainwater runoff from rooftops, paved areas or the ground. "Harvested" rainwater is typically used for landscape irrigation, washing cars or similar tasks, but more complex and expensive systems will filter and treat the rainwater so it can be used as drinking water.

Typical costs:

  • Building a do-it-yourself rain barrel system can cost $20-$50 using standard household tools, a 40-80-gallon plastic barrel or drum, a spigot, PVC piping and other supplies available from home improvement or hardware stores. A prefabricated rain barrel can cost $70-$300 depending on size and capacity. Multiple rain barrels can be linked together to increase the total storage capacity. For details, see How Much Does a Rain Barrel Cost.
  • A cistern is a water storage container made of metal, fiberglass, polyethylene (plastic), poured concrete, concrete blocks, stone or wood; cisterns can be aboveground, partially buried or underground. Small prefabricated cisterns holding 150-350 gallons can cost $150-$660, depending on materials, capacity and whether they are gravity-feed or use a pump to get the water where it will be used. Cisterns holding 500-10,000 gallons can cost $500-$10,000 or more depending on size, materials and whether the water will be used for irrigation or human consumption. With installation, total costs can be $2,000-$20,000 or more. For details, see How Much Does a Cistern Cost.
  • A dry well is an underground structure designed to allow water to percolate into the water table. A simple do-it-yourself dry well using gravel and drainage fabric can cost $5-$50, depending on size and materials, A prefabricated plastic dry well typically costs $90-$350 or more; with installation and all materials, total costs can be $200-$650 or more. And having a concrete dry well installed typically costs $300-$5,000 or more, depending on size, design and location. For details, see How Much Does a Dry Well Cost.
  • Creating a residential rain garden to hold storm runoff until it percolates into the surrounding soil can cost $100-$2,000 for do-it-yourself materials, depending on whether it's a simple basin or includes underground drainage and overflow piping systems. A professionally designed 150-square-foot residential rain garden can cost $1,500-$3,000 or more. For details, see How Much Does a Rain Garden Cost.
Related articles: Rain Barrel, Cistern, Dry Well, Rain Garden

What should be included:
  • A rain harvesting system should be sized to match both the amount of rainwater running into it and the demand for the stored water. Lowe's provides an overview[1] of rain catchment systems to harvest residential roof runoff.
  • Many different methods can be used to harvest rain, depending on local conditions and how the water will be used. The Martin Soil and Water Conservation District in Minnesota provides an overview of rain barrels. Seattle Public Utilities gives DIY instructions[2] for installing an aboveground cistern. DoItYourself.com explains how to install a dry well[3] and the Groundwater Foundation posts an overview of rain gardens.
Additional costs:
  • If rainwater is to be harvested from the roof, the house must have well-maintained gutters and downspouts. A typical home has 120'-250' of gutters. Vinyl gutters typically cost $3-$5 a lineal foot or $360-$1,250; aluminum gutters average about $4-$9 a foot plus downspouts at $5-$8, or $500-$2,400 for an average family home. Downspout extensions start at $10-$50 each; professional installation of underground drainage pipes into a dry well can cost $200-$2,000 or more, depending on the amount of trenching and piping.
  • If rainwater harvested from the roof is to be treated and used as drinking water, it's best to have a metal roof, which can cost $5,000-$40,000 for a basic single-story ranch-style house.
Shopping for rain harvesting:
  • The first step is to decide how much water is needed and how it will be used. EcoHearth.com explains how to choose and use a rainwater harvesting system[4] .
  • HarvestH2O.com lists rainwater harvesting vendors[5] by state.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.lowesforpros.com/install-a-rainwater-catchment-system
  2.  www.seattle.gov/util/groups/public/@spu/@usm/documents/webcontent/spu01_006291.pdf
  3.  www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-install-a-dry-well
  4.  ecohearth.com/eco-zine/home-and-renovation/730-how-to-choose-and-use-a-home-rainwa...
  5.  www.harvesth2o.com/vendors.shtml
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