Recently, I received these pictures from Troy Cormier who built a working rain-collection system. His system has a capacity of 10 barrels as well as a built-in water level gauge.
This picture shows that main inspiration for the modified system below.
(Click any picture to enlarge)
A raised frame for the barrels.
You can see the drilled holes for the PVC that will capture the water from the bottoms of the barrels. Troy adds, "The main structure is 6x6 posts with 2x12 cross beams at the bottom and 2x10 cross beams at the tops. There is no cement on the 6x6 posts, but they are at least 3 feet in the ground."
This is the rain capture system connected into the home's rain gutter.
All of the barrels and the water drains beneath.
A closer view of the pipes under the deck.
A multipurpose hose spigot and larger drain.
These two photos and diagram show the water gauge, built so the owner doesn't have to always open the barrels to find out how full they are.
Some answers from Troy:
How long does it take to fill all 10 buckets?
A light rain can take 24 to 48 hours of rain to fill, a good heavy rain 12 to 24 hours. That is with only about 12 to 14 feet of gutter. I have plans to add 20 to 30 feet more of gutters to cut the time down even more..
What do you use the water for?
Gardening. Where I live they charge for every $1 of water used, a $2 sewage charge - so a $100 water bill will be a $200 sewage bill with a total bill of $300.
How long could the water last if you start from full capacity?
I guess it depends on the size of the garden and what you want to use the water for. I have a small garden, two 4x8 beds. It went 2 to 2.5 weeks without raining this summer and i was just about out of water when it rained again.
Troy adds: Remember one thing when building - water weighs a lot! 8.34 lbs a gallon. My system is 550 gallons that makes a full system 4587lbs!!
Thank you, Troy, for sharing your rain-collection system with us!