Capturing and using rainwater for your yard
Rain barrels collect rainwater and provide a free source of water for your yard. Your plants will appreciate the soft, warm water, and you will help reduce the amount of rainwater runoff that enters our rivers and creeks untreated.
Purchase your rain barrel
Rain barrels come in a variety of sizes and prices, and are available at several locations throughout Calgary. For more information about selecting the right one for you, please visit Green Calgary.
Green Calgary is also hosting a number of rain barrel sales in local communities throughout the spring and summer, where you can pick up a rain barrel (or two!) and a composter. See the dates and locations of the rain barrel sales.
Please note: Collected rain water is not potable, which means you shouldn't drink it or use it on food crops.
Setting up your rain barrel
Please read the installation instructions carefully and refer to the barrel manufacturer or retailer for support. You can set up one rain barrel, or multiple rain barrels - each attached to a downspout or connected in series.
Ensure your rain barrel is on a stable and wide surface to prevent it from being pulled or knocked over. And, for safety's sake, ensure your barrel has a secure cover.
Make sure the overflow drain pipe or your downspout is set at least 1.5 metres (five feet) away from your house. For more information about setting up and maintaining your rain barrels, see ourYardSmart Rain Barrel Brochure.
Learn more about rain barrels and other ways to capture water in our rain barrel video.
Calgary's average rainfall (5 cm per month) will provide approximately 4,000 litres of water. That can fill a typical 45-gallon rain barrel 20 times.
Seasonal rain barrel maintenance
A few quick actions when cold weather arrives will keep your barrel from cracking:
- Completely drain your barrel of water.
- Remove and store taps and place barrel in a protected area away from strong winds.
- Always remember to remove your diverter and reconnect your downspout.