Idea Corner

Rain Barrel Basics

Hard to believe at one time it was illegal in Utah and I some surrounding states to capture rainwater. A practice done since Adam and Eve were created and actively done in communities all over the world, rain water is ideal for many situations.

Utah is a desert and the plants (as well as our bodies), need enough water to sustain themselves.  Utah has experienced an occasional drought therefore water is a commodity that at times, is regulated. It only makes sense to get it when you can. Water barrels and cisterns are one method in making that happen.

Assuming it rains (and this year, so far so good), rain water can be a source for water in an emergency. This is a common practice in many cultures around the world. Some have water barrels and cisterns on their roofs to provide water where water supplies are limited.

To start, simply put a plastic 55 gallon drum at the bottom of your gutter. I recommend putting a screen over the gutter spout or the drum (or both) to screen out any leaves, gravel, sand, or twigs that may wash through. Some barrels are designed specifically for the purpose of collecting rain water. You will notice on our website and FaceBook pages that some have elected to “dress up” their barrels by painting them and adding floral designs.  A good rain can fill up a 55 gallon drum in minutes.

Typically the drums have spigots that have been tapped in the bottom, whereby you can opt to attach a hose or just pour out into containers. There often is a tap on top for overflow. This is a great place to put a hose as well so the excess water can be distributed to other containers, plants, or a nearby garden.

Rain water can be used as drinking water, however, it is usually dirty. We recommend filtering it using any one of the handful of water-treatment methods such as boiling, disinfection, distillation, or by using a water filter itself.  It is important to have safe water to prevent sickness, disease, or worse case, death.

Getting and staying prepared is easy. You just have to get started. It all starts with a single step.

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Rain Barrels! It’s as easy as 1-2-3

Rain barrels – Did you know a good rain can produce up to three 55 gallon drums of water? Water that can be used for plants and projects around your house, cabin, farm, business, or teepee. The good is multiplied many times over as you are not only taking care of what God provides, you are taking care of your precious resources in a desert no less.

All you need to do are three things: 1. Pick up a plastic drum (they are available in a variety of sizes 15, 30, and 55 gallon work best), a screen to keep debris out, a of spigot to pour from, a brass overflow/brass tap (it will act as an overflow valve). 2. Drill a couple of holes, one a few inches up from the top to act as an overflow, and one a few inches from the bottom to put the spigot in. 3. Screw in the valve and spigot. Put the screen over the barrel or over your drain to keep debris and sediment out. Hook up your hose and bingo! Instant drip irrigation or soaker hose for free. Clean, fresh water for plants or projects. Feel free to decorate the barrel to your liking.

If you are opposed to picking up a ready made plastic drum at or, consider coming over to MBC and picking out your own barrel at a fraction of the cost.  It will give you a sense of accomplishment when your little project is over.

Rain Barrels are easy as one, two, three!

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Rain Barrel love in Utah

Congrats to the congress for the State of Utah who recently embraced the use of poly drums as rain barrels.  Made from reconditioned (recycled for reuse) 55 gallon plastic drums, the rain barrels are extremely strong and rigid. They are available in blue, black or translucent white colors. Will work as a “stand alone” rain barrel or together with multiple rain barrels to collect & store rain for later use. The barrels are great for storing water to be used to water plants and in an emergency situation, with proper precautions, the water could be used as drinking water.  Check out MBC for what is available in 30 and 55 gallon sizes.  This is a fun project for the family. Any Ute or Cougar can “get er dun.”  Pick one up today!

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Follow Us!

You can now follow MBC on Twitter: @MarksBarrelComp

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