The Art Barn in the last week gained running water to activate a slop sink for artists, thanks to a little rainwater harvesting project undertaken at Better Farm.
Utilizing a blueprint created last year by intern extraordinaire Lizzi Musoke, we constructed a gutter system to catch rainwater runoff on the Art Barn and divert it through a downspout and spigot into a laundry sink. Biodegradable products will flow out of the sink drain and disperse on the ground; and for toxic chemicals and paints, a catchment bucket can be placed below the drain to collect that waste for disposal.
Here's all you need to create your own rainwater catchment system, applicable for any non-potable water use (irrigation, outdoor shower, or outdoor sink):
- Length of plastic gutter to fit along your roof edge
- End cap for gutter
- Downspout cut to length
- Downspout connector to gutter
- Braces for gutter
- Exterior screws
- Spigot with washers
- Drill with with various bits: one to fit your screws, one with a drill head of the same diameter as your spigot
- Rainwater catchment barrel (check with your local farms, they're always flush with barrels like this!)
- A stand for your barrel (cinder blocks at least for a hose attachment, something taller if you want a sink—you are using gravity to pull the water from the bin to your spigot, which should be at the bottom of the rainwater barrel!)
- Skill saw to cut a hole in your barrel for the downspout
- Mosquito netting to surround the entrance point of the downspout-to-barrel to ensure no bugs lay eggs in the water
|Carl Frizzell helps us out by cutting some gutters and downspouts|
- Measure your roof edge and cut your gutter length to fit (any saw will be able to cut through plastic gutter).
- Take your gutter braces and screw them along the roof line, ensuring a gradual angle so the water runs downstream to where your catchment bin is waiting.
- Put your gutter in the braces and attach the end cap at one end, downspout attachment piece at the other.
- Measure from the gutter to where your catchment bin is and cut your downspout to be just a few inches longer. (NOTE: make sure your measurement for the downspout accounts for the fact your rainwater barrel is sitting up on something. This measurement should not be to the floor!)
- Attach the downspout to the gutter system.
- Cut a hole in your rainwater barrel's top to fit the downspout.
- Use your drill to cut a hole in the barrel's side a few inches up from the bottom for your spigot.