Rainwater Harvesting with Cisterns or Rain Barrels 

Rainwater running off of clean roof surfaces can be diverted into cisterns or rain barrels and used as a complement to a rain garden with water-harvesting earthworks

Since more runoff is generated from a typical roof than can be contained in cisterns or rain barrels at any one time, they are typically integrated into a design that also includes 
Sustainable Fairfax cistern hides behind a tree.
an adjacent rain garden. In this way, overflow run from cisterns or barrels can infiltrate into the soil. 
Cisterns and rain barrels come in many sizes and a variety of shapes and can be tucked under decks, placed along fences, hidden by vegetation or trellising, or painted with murals! 

Stored rainwater can also serve as a backup water supply in the case of an emergency, as well as in drought conditions, which some scientists predict will occur more frequently due to climate changes caused by global warming. 

For assistance with design or installation, for guidelines, or for information on needed supplies, see our resources section.

Note: Before installing cisterns or rain barrels, please see our Primer on Safety and Legal Considerations for Rainwater Harvesting in the MMWD Service Area.
An array of recycled 50-gallon olive barrels are used to collect water off a small shed roof
A 200-gallon rainbarrel hooked up to a garden hose