The Lorain Soil & Water Conservation District provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain and improve the natural resources and environment in Lorain County.


Agricultural Center
42110 Russia Road
Elyria, OH 44035-6813
Phone: 440.326.5800
FAX: 440.326.5807

Rain Barrels

What is a Rain Barrel?
Rain barrel schematic
[Photo: Rain barrel schematic ]

A rain barrel is a container that collects and stores rainwater from downspouts and rooftops for future use such as watering lawns and gardens. Rain barrels are usually 55-gallon drums.

If you are a gardener and are looking for ways to save on your water bill from gardening and other plant care, to ensure your plants don’t suffer, consider a rain barrel.

Once you position your rain barrel where you want it, you will need to remove a section of your gutter downspout to redirect water into your barrel. Make sure the overflow valve or pipe in your rain barrel is positioned away from your foundation.

Why use a Rain Barrel?

This is a great way to “Go Green”. Rain barrels can be used to irrigate your lawn and garden during summer months when approximately 40% of household water is used for lawn and garden maintenance. A rain barrel collects and stores water for those times you need it most.

Water collected in rain barrels would normally pour off your roof directly or flow through roof gutter downspouts and becomes stormwater runoff. The use of multiple rain barrels provides even greater storage capacity for watering and reducing runoff.

Using rain barrels can potentially help homeowners with their water bill.

Side view of rain barrel sold by LSWCD
[Photo: LSWCD rain barrel –
side view ]
Top view of rain barrel sold by LSWCD
[Photo: LSWCD rain barrel –
top view ]
Helpful Hints about Rain Barrels

Rain barrels are used to store rainwater for future use. You can double the barrels to double your rainwater storage.


  • If you run your lawn sprinkler on a full flow for 30 minutes you can use approximately 140-160 gallons of water.
  • If you have half-inch of rain on a 1,000-square-foot roof, you can yield approximately 300 gallons of water.
  • Rain barrels can save approximately 1,500–2,000 gallons of water during a rainy season.
  • Rain barrels can be painted with outdoor acrylic paint; but prime barrel first.
  • Rainwater is FREE.

For winter storage, remember to completely empty/drain your rain barrel and if possible store your barrel in a protected or indoor area. If your barrel must remain outside, turn it upside down to prevent animals entering or accumulation of water which will freeze and could crack the barrel wall.

For more information on what a rain barrel is, why to use one, and how to build one, see our Rain Barrels Brochure (128 KB).

If you have question, please call the office.


August 16, 2017