Rainwater Harvesting

Published on: June 25, 2020

Rainwater Harvesting

Now’s a good time to ready, set and capture!

Did you know that one inch of rain on a 1,000 square foot roof will yield 623 gallons of water? Yes, that’s hard to believe…until you attend a workshop, receive your rain barrel, take it home, hook it up and it rains. With an average annual rainfall of approximately 50 inches, each household could save more than 31,000 gallons a year if you had sufficient storage capacity.

We offer Rainwater Harvesting workshops one Saturday a month, via Zoom currently, through the Extension office in Seffner for a cost of $5. By participating in this workshop online, you will learn that a rain barrel is any device used to collect rainwater mainly for landscape irrigation. The benefits of capturing rainwater include reductions in potable water use for a landscape, erosion and stormwater runoff. These benefits are extremely important because of the decrease in the amount of water you purchase, the soil washing away from your landscape (erosion) and stormwater runoff, which moves fertilizers, pesticides, oil, gas, trash, etc. from your property into a storm drain and, ultimately, into Tampa Bay, resulting in algae bloom, fish kills, etc.

Participants learn how to make their own rain barrels, how to set up their barrel at home, the ideal locations with or without gutters, and how to create a stable platform/base for their rain barrel. We provide information on why an overflow on a rain barrel is important and how to create one, connecting multiple rain barrels and the maintenance needed.

Instructions are provided on painting rain barrels, safety considerations and use of products to kill mosquito larvae. Harvested rainwater can be used on ornamental plants, but not edibles, and this will also be fully explained during the workshop.

Did you know that we offer triple workshops (rainwater harvesting, composting and microirrigation) nearly every month of the year, currently via Zoom? These educational programs are $5 per household per workshop, attendance one time only, as a Hillsborough County resident. If you have not attended, think about this: after the rainwater harvesting workshop, you will receive one rain barrel that staff and Master Gardeners have drilled and spigoted. After composting, you receive a compost bin, kitchen compost bucket and compost thermometer. After microirrigation, you receive a microirrigation kit, hose nozzle and rain gauge. Prior to the workshop, registrants will receive information about workshop item pick-up locations and times. Pre-registration is required. Check out the website at

For horticultural assistance, call the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County at 813-744-5519. We hope to “see” you via Zoom at an upcoming workshop, and remember to reduce, reuse, recycle and repeat.

Lynn Barber is the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Agent for the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County. Call 813-744-5519 for more information.