Rainwater collecting has become mainstream emergency preparedness. It used to be mainstream life, before people started charging for water. Now, future-minded community leaders are training communities in how to build family-based rainwater barrels to increase self-reliance in case on emergency.


Fitting the tap means you need a hole near the bottom of the plastic drum.


The tap screws in with a seal.


Everyone can have a shot at making their own family water barrel.

rainwater staorage
At another activity, the water barrels arrive.


Emergency preparedness people share them out.

People learn to make their own family water storage drum.

My parents always had a rain barrel. It was a small tank that collected fresh rainwater from the roof. Throughout my growing years, our drinking water was always a higher quality than tap water. It tasted way better too. When I was 15 years old, I helped Dad and his friend George dig a well on our farm. Both Dad and George have passed away, yet the well still lives on, providing fresh clean cold water year after year.

Dad’s Rain Barrel for rainwater catching

Dad’s rain barrel was a simple drum. Rainwater catching is still a huge advantage to our family. Where possible, we catch our own water and store water independently of your water provider. Water increases your independence. Prepare today by storing as much water for your family as possible.

Several small drums are better than one large tank. This spreads your risk.

After the next earthquake
Can you store water at home? Can you harvest rain-water? If you can then make this water storage a priority.

Second only to having a torch on hand, Christchurch quake survivors said that stored water was the most needed item for most effected families, for months.

In rainwater harvesting is basically the same in many countries. See video:

How to make a rainwater harvester

First, get some drums. Drums are better after an earthquake than concrete tanks. You can buy them from drum recycler companies throughout NZ. Ensure the drums have been used for food quality use and the plastic is for food quality.

Description by Susy Morris: “We installed a rain barrel system behind our garage. It gives me tons of fresh water for the gardens.

I end up saving so much money because our water is pretty expensive.

We have 7-55 gallon barrels all hooked together. They fill at the same time and drain together.

We have one tap to fill watering cans and a pump with another spigot for use with the hose or sprinkler.

Above: Overflow.
“There’s an overflow as well, they’re all hooked together and overflow into the downspout if they’re full.

We have a clear tube at the end so we can see how much water we have. The system is also easily expandable if we want to add more barrels, we think we can fit 7-10 more across the back of the garage.”

The barrels are painted white to keep the water cool.

In NZ we need water in drums or bottles as well as tanks, in case of earthquake when tanks may be destroyed in seconds.

There’s a lot more you can learn about how to catch rainwater. Learn more here.

References & photo credits

Photo of emergency preparedness lady demonstrating how to make rainwater barrels by Ed Uthman flickr.com/photos/euthman/6269168071/

Photo of young man applying sealant by thanh.ha.dang on .flickr.com/photos/cheezedunx/3605961654/

Photo of young man sitting on drum by thanh.ha.dang on .flickr.com/photos/cheezedunx/3605961654

Photo of group making rain collection drums by thanh.ha.dang on .flickr.com/photos/cheezedunx/3605145073/

Photo of unloading emergency preparedness rainwater barrels by Ed Uthman at .flickr.com/photos/euthman/6269650640/

Photo of woman handling emergency preparedness rainwater barrels by Ed Uthman at .flickr.com/photos/euthman/6269688002/

Photo of crowd at emergency preparedness rainwater barrel activity by Ed Uthman at .flickr.com/photos/euthman/6269136165/

Rainwater photos by Susy Morris. www.flickr.com/photos/chiotsrun/sets/72157623501886951 Received 13 Nov 2011.