Rain Barrels

Rain barrels can reduce water consumption by 27,000 litres per growing season. Installation is easy with IBC's tips.

What Are the Benefits of Rain Barrels?

Rain barrels can have a big impact on managing excess rainwater, especially when whole communities use them. They help prevent water from seeping into basements and provide free water for maintaining lawns and gardens, as well as for other uses, such as washing your dog or vehicle.

What Will It Cost Me?

Rain barrel use is increasing across Canada, particularly in rural areas. Your municipality may have a free or low-cost rain barrel program to encourage residential use.

*Please note: IBC does not sell or provide rain barrels.

Is a Rain Barrel Simple to Install?

Yes! Watch an installation video from the Wingham, Ontario, rain barrel pilot project.


Here are the basic steps:

  1. Place the barrel on a flat, steady surface such as a patio stone.
  2. Take your current downspout and direct it into the barrel. This may require a minor modification of the downspout.
  3. Leave approximately 50 millimetres or 2 inches of space between the end of the downspout and the top of your rain barrel. This space is used for a debris screen that keeps out leaves and discourages mosquitoes from breeding in the barrel.
  4. If you live in a windy area, put a brick or stone on top of the debris screen.

Do I Have to Manually Remove the Water?

Newer rain barrels are equipped with a gravity cap that drains the water slowly over a 24-hour period. You can also connect your hose to the spigot on the bottom of the barrel. Rain barrels offer a gentle flow for soaker hoses that are useful for wetting tree or plant roots.

How Much Water Will a Rain Barrel Hold?

One typical residential rain barrel holds approximately 200 litres. A single, intense rainfall of just 25 millimetres or 1 inch can add up to more than 2,300 litres coming off an average roof. 

What About Rain Barrel Safety?

  • Ensure the rain barrel has a secure lid that a child cannot open.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding proper installation and maintenance.
  • Install the barrel on a level surface so it cannot be easily overturned.
  • Inspect the barrel regularly to ensure it is not tampered with and the lid remains securely fastened.
  • Do not allow children to play in, on or near a rain barrel. Climbing above, onto or into the barrel can be dangerous.
  • Children should always be supervised by an adult when near water.

Water Conservation Experiments Add Up

Together with the local utilities, IBC participated in major rain barrel studies in Stratford, Prince Edward Island, and Wingham, Ontario. Conducted over a two-year period in partnership with the local township, the Wingham experiment demonstrated that 1,000 households using rain barrels could divert 4.5 million litres of rainwater runoff away from a municipality's sewer system.