BARREL WATER COLLECTOR
Make wine into water (sort of).
By Chris Barnes and Michri Barnes
Many people let the rain that falls on their roof run
away, then they use drinking water piped in from
afar for washing floors and watering plants. Here’s
a handy, mosquito-proof rain barrel we put together
that buffers 55 gallons of water and adds a handsome accent to our yard. It’s especially valuable
during droughts, and if you’re in a rural area with
wells and electric pumps, it also means being able
to flush the toilet when the power goes out. The
barrel and fittings are also suitable for potable water,
but don’t store graywater, or pathogens can grow.
Our barrel sits under an eave of our house, where
even on foggy days it collects water that trickles
down. You can also put it under a downspout, or
anyplace else outside where it will capture water.
And if you’re really ambitious, you could have a
series of barrels and move the pump from one to
the next, or even interconnect them.
130 Make: Volume 18
1. Make holes in the barrel lid.
Lay out the following holes on the barrel’s cover and
drill them with the hole saw. You need one hole near
the edge for your pump’s down tube, and two more
for collected water to drain through.
Use a strong drill, and draw the hole saw out to
clear away sawdust every once in a while. It also
helps if you remove some wood from the hole by
chiseling across the grain at the edges (Figure A,
When you smell wine, you’re almost there. One of
our plugs fell in, but that’s no disaster; it just means
there’s some wine barrel in our wine barrel.
Cover the drain holes with screen to keep out
mosquitoes and debris. I cut two 4" squares with a
straightedge and utility knife, then folded the edges
in and stapled them down (Figure B).
Photography by Michri