Iowa Stormwater Education Program

Rainwater Harvesting

Historically and in many developing countries still today, many homes use a cistern to capture rainfall for household purposes. Rain water harvesting, like the cistern, is the process of collecting rainwater and storing it for later use. Storage methods range from small barrels to large underground storage tanks. It is a valuable water management practice that is greatly underutilized in our communities.

Rainwater harvesting is a fairly inexpensive practice for urban property owners to install by purchasing (or making) a rain barrel and connecting it to downspouts.  After it rains, water is stored in the rain barrel for watering yards and gardens. The downside to rain barrels is that they do not manage large amounts of runoff, but they are an easy way for homeowners and businesses to start implementing conservation practices.


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