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Rainwater Collection System - Diane and Gordon Birkner's Story

Rainwater Collection – Diane and Gordon Birkner’s Story

Over the years, I had always thought that it would be cool to capture rain water to use to water my plants, lawn and gardens because I noticed that they all did so much better when it rained vs when I had to use water from the hose connected to my main water source. 

Diane and Gordon Birkner have created a great system that I had the pleasure of touring recently and wanted to share with y’all in case anyone else out there had thought about capturing rain water and may be interested in how they set up theirs.

They utilize rain barrels attached to their roof gutters placing them on platforms about 4 feet off the ground to utilize gravity to make their system more efficient.  Gordon created a way to include a gage outside of the barrel so they could easily see how much water was in each barrel.

Using PVC piping underneath the barrels, he connects the two barrels bringing all the water to one place and along with gravity, it makes it easier to get the water out.  They recommend painting the barrels a dark color to help prevent algae growth.

He has put in place, an overflow system that captures the water that overflows from the barrels when they get full.  This water is routed to cut off barrels below the main water barrels.  They are not without knowledge that where there is open water, there is a breeding ground for mosquitos, so they utilize Mosquito Dunks to prevent the breeding of mosquitos.  These dunks are organic and not harmful to the animals that may drink from the overflow barrels.

The Birkner’s property allows them the ability to have a 2,800-gallon tank that is in sync with the rain barrels and is connected to the roof gutters on his garage.  This supply and demand system is set up very nicely with a process to flush out debris before water enters the barrel.  He has a small 1 horsepower pump connected to the barrel and to a switch in the garage enabling a simple flip to maintain pressure allowing them to water the garden or use hoses connected to this system throughout the yard to water as needed.

In total, they are able to store 3,240 gallons of water that can be drawn from as needed.

It was very interesting to hear about how this was designed and the thought process behind it all and appreciate that they were willing to share this very cool rain water capturing system with me and to let me share with all of you.