How To Store Rainwater When You’re Short On Space

Collecting and storing rainwater ensures an uninterrupted water supply for home and farm use, especially during shortages. While it’s usually easy to harvest rainwater from the roof, it becomes trickier when the space around your home isn’t sufficient. It means you can’t install the usual round tanks. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t deter you from looking into other storage solutions. There are many different options to use if you’re short on space, and this includes the following:

  1. Tanks With Slim Designs 

Tanks come in different sizes and designs. The most common are round tanks, which have been used for ages. But their build requires a considerable amount of horizontal space, which may not be available on a small property. In such a case, you’re better off with slim modern designs that occupy minimal space yet store enough water for your needs.  

They can fit any side of the house, given that they protrude just two or three feet from the wall. As for the length, you could go for anything between one to three meters, depending on the space available. Height-wise, ensure the tank opening sits about one foot below the gutter spout. They also come in various colors, and you can select the one that compliments your home’s shade.

  1. Underground Storage

Underground storage is another excellent option to store rainwater since you won’t need much space on the ground level. For this, you will need an expert for the installation to ensure the soil around the tank opening doesn’t cave in. These experts will take necessary measurements, bring in excavators to dig out the dirt, insert a plastic or steel tank, and build a concrete wall around it.

You only need a small opening on top to draw water. You can use the rest of the space to place outdoor furniture or leave it as it is. Aside from saving space, underground storage protects you from tank thefts and vandalism.  

  1. Rooftop Tank With Umbrella Rainwater Catcher

You can install a rooftop tank instead if you have limited space around your house. Additionally, you can place an umbrella rainwater catcher on top of it to increase the surface area of the collection. You will undoubtedly need professional help for the tank installation. But for the umbrella on top, you can take it as a small do-it-yourself project. All you need is an upside-down umbrella with a hole at the apex leading to a collection tube that goes into the tank. You can also install an umbrella rain catcher on an existing rooftop tank.

  1. Freestanding Containers/Barrels

Rain barrels are miniature versions of tanks, usually with a diameter of about 2 feet. Because of their small size, you can place them anywhere within your compound. They can quickly fill up with rainwater by just leaving them open. Alternatively, you can direct the gutter spout into the barrel. 

The good thing about it is that they’re very affordable, meaning you can have several of them. Rain barrels are also easy to maintain; you can wash them thoroughly from time to time to prevent the accumulation of algae and dirt.  

  1. Ground Wells

A standard ground well takes only a small backyard space. You can dig a round one with a diameter of as little as three feet. Depth-wise, there’s usually no limit unless you encounter hard rock. Once in place, you can direct surface runoff into the ground well.   

Consider filtering the runoff through a layer of charcoal, gravel, wire mesh, and sand to eliminate debris and contaminants. But even so, only use this water for irrigation and household chores, not personal use, as surface runoff usually carries a lot of impurities.  

  1. Rain Saucer

A rain saucer is perfect for small spaces because it isn’t a permanent installation. You only set it up when it’s raining and dismantle it afterward. To build one, you will need a canvas sheet, PVC pipes, timber, and a small container. Use the wood to create an umbrella-like frame onto which you’ll place the canvas sheet. The rainwater will flow from the sheet into the container through the pipes. Once the container fills up, cover it to prevent the entry of pollutants.


With creativity, you can collect and store rainwater even if you’re short on space. Ideally, go for storage tanks and containers that don’t take up much space, such as slim designs. Alternatively, opt for temporary installations like rainwater saucers. With any of the above rainwater storage options, you can always have more than enough water to cater to all household and farm needs, even if the local supply fails. Most importantly, strive to keep the collected rainwater safe for use by adequately covering the containers. And to eliminate harmful water threats, use purification tablets appropriately.

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