Rain Barrels and Cisterns

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Rain barrels come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and styles to suit your landscape. Many of the barrels pictured above were reimbursed through Lenexa's Cost Share Program. 
Get reimbursed for installing a rain barrel or cistern

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, lawn and garden watering account for nearly 40 percent of total household water use during the summer. Rain barrels and cisterns provide a consistent supply of clean, fresh water for outdoor use, free of charge.

Rain barrels typically provide about 55 gallons of storage capacity and are commonly placed above ground near the source of the rainwater.

A cistern can be an above-ground tank that holds a few hundred gallons of water near the source of the rainwater or a larger underground tank that could hold up to many thousands of gallons of water where the rainwater is piped to the cistern.

Water collected in a rain barrel or cistern would normally pour off your roof directly or flow through roof gutter downspouts and become stormwater runoff. Depending on your yard, this runoff can travel onto paved surfaces and eventually into a storm drain, which drains straight to freshwater bodies like creeks and streams. Saving water not only helps protect the environment, it saves money and energy by decreasing demand for treated tap water. Diverting water from storm drains also decreases the effects of runoff to streams, preventing pollution and protecting water.

Rain barrels are relatively simple and inexpensive to construct and sit conveniently under residential gutter downspouts. A rain barrel is composed of a 55-gallon drum, a vinyl hose, a spigot, PVC couplings and a screen to keep debris and insects out.

Where to buy

We occasionally host rain barrel building classes through Lenexa Parks & Recreation, but if you don’t want to wait for the next class, supplies are readily available. Hardware stores and garden centers are likely bets to find parts or whole kits for rain barrels. Online sources carry rain barrels as well.