Estimate Your Costs

How much will it cost to install rainwater-capturing techniques?

Depending on the technique you use, and if you do the work yourself, it can be free or very low-cost. For example, creating a swale is typically lower-cost, since you might already have the materials needed.

If you're interested in installing a cistern, aspects affecting its cost may include: the unit's placement above or below ground, its holding capacity and the quality of the filtering and pumping equipment. A homeowner can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars for a small homemade system to several thousand dollars for a larger system with automated functions. Rain barrels are a much less expensive option.

Example: TreePeople's Hall House retrofit

Due to their scale and demonstration purposes, TreePeople's demonstration projects are not good indicators of the cost of collecting rainwater for an average homeowner.

However, the following matrix presents the approximate costs of installing some of the practices at TreePeople's Hall House demonstration project. The costs detailed in the matrix below are for a 7,500-square-foot property, with 4,500 square feet occupied by structures and impermeable materials.

The cistern's cost is omitted due to the wide range of possibilities. Additionally, there are some costs associated with the simple maintenance necessary for most of these practices.

Rainwater as a Resource shares the details of utilizing these concepts and sheds light on the many opportunities to implement the wide array of available technologies.

What's the payoff?

Remember that capturing and storing rainwater for use in irrigating your plants can lower your water bills. By incorporating these techniques in your building and landscaping designs, you will also be restoring watershed functions – playing a critical role in promoting a healthier community.

Read more about the benefits of capturing rainwater.