Rain Harvesting FAQ


How big are the tanks?
Southern Arizona Rain Gutters offers systems that range from tanks as small as 200 gallons to cisterns that hold over 10,000 gallons. If we don’t have the size you are looking for we can custom design a system for you. Our first step is to visit your home or business and evaluate what type and size of system would best suit your needs.

How much does a rainwater harvesting system cost?
Tanks and cisterns vary in cost. You can visit our warehouse and pick up the parts to install a small tank yourself for as little as $600. A steel culvert cistern with basic installation starts at about $1900. Visit our Above Ground Plastic Tanks page or Steel Culvert Cisterns page for more pricing information.

Do I have to treat the water in my cistern to prevent algae?
You do not have to worry about algae in a properly sealed cistern or tank, even without chlorination. That’s because without sunlight, algae cannot live. All of our systems are sealed to keep out light. Our poly tanks are UV protected and our Steel Culvert Cisterns have a steel lid that sunlight can not penetrate. Therefore, you do not need to treat the rainwater that you collect in our products.

What about Mosquitoes?
All of our tanks and cisterns are installed with a mosquito screens at all openings and overflow valves to prevent mosquitoes from infesting your water.

How long can I store my water?
Water can be stored for many weeks as long as it does not contain algae or is infested with mosquitoes. With our tanks and cisterns you do not have to worry about either of these problems and can store your water as long as needed. However, you should be regularly utilizing the water you collect. We do recommend that about every year, or when your cistern is empty, you spray the inside with a hose to clean out any sediment that may have accumulated.

Can I drink the rainwater I collect?
No, we do not recommend that you drink or bathe in rainwater unless it has been treated to your local Health Department standards. Rainwater should rightfully be used in a way that returns the moisture to the earth such as through outside landscape irrigation or a septic system leach field.

Can I paint a steel cistern to match my house?
Yes. Visit our Photo Gallery page to see examples of how some of our cisterns have been painted to either match the exterior of a home or to stand out as a decorative element. You have the option of either painting the cistern yourself or we can do it for you.

Will the plastic tanks fade?
No. All the poly tanks are UV protected and fade resistant.
Rain Gutter FAQ

What kind of material are your gutters made from?
All of our gutters are made from either copper or aluminum. Our copper gutters have a natural patina finish and add a classic architectural design element to your home. Our aluminum gutters come in over 30 different colors including copper look alike and galvalume. These colors are guaranteed for 100 years not to fade, chip or peel.

How Rain Harvesting Works


Normally when it rains the rainwater pours off your roof, down through your gutters and it just runs off into your yard or street. Rainwater harvesting systems allow you to collect and store rainwater for later use.
Basic configuration of a Rainwater Harvesting System

The basic principal of Rainwater harvesting systems is to channel rainwater from a catchment surface (roof or other raised solid surface), through a distribution system (gutters, downspouts and pipes) and then into storage tank.

The storage tank can be above ground or underground and can be made from a variety of materials including plastic and metal. Water storage tanks should be covered to prevent mosquito breeding and to reduce evaporation losses, contamination and algal growth. Rainwater harvesting systems require regular maintenance and cleaning to keep the system hygienic.

Why Harvest Rainwater?

“Rainwater is a renewable, sustainable and a high quality water source for your home”
What is rainwater harvesting?

Rainwater harvesting is a technique used for collecting, storing, and using rainwater for landscape irrigation and other uses. Normally when it rains the rainwater pours off your roof, down through your gutters and runs off into your yard or street. With rainwater harvesting your rainwater is collected in a water storage tank or cistern and stored for later use.

The practice of collecting and storing rain water has been around for thousand of years and is currently growing in popularity throughout our communities due to interest in reducing the consumption of potable water and the inherent qualities of rainwater. It is appropriate for large scale landscapes such as parks, schools, commercial sites, parking lots, and apartment complexes, as well as small scale residential landscapes.
The benefits of harvesting rain water

Rainwater is a renewable, sustainable and a high quality water source for your home. Some of the benefits of collecting and storing rainwater include*:

Diminishing flooding, erosion and the flow to stormwater drain by reducing peak storm water runoff
Reducing water bills and demand on your community’s drinking water supply by using rainwater for flushing toilets, washing clothes, watering the garden and washing cars
Improving plant growth by using rainwater for irrigation because stored rainwater is free from pollutants as well as salts, minerals, and other natural and man-made contaminants
Making use of a valuable resource that is FREE

*As rainwater may be contaminated due to pollutants, it is often not considered suitable for drinking without treatment.

Rainwater Harvesting Calculator

Rainwater harvesting calculators are important for several reasons. They help to better balance the supply and demand so that a system can be sized correctly and so the user has adequate storage to get through long periods without rainfall.

We’ve included a downloadable calculator for your benefit. The first chart shows the average rainfall in Southern Arizona and how many gallons of rainwater per month that can be collected from a 1000sq. ft. home. As you can see, a 1000 sq ft. home collects an astounding average of 7800 gallons of water a year with rainwater harvesting. The second chart shows the amount of water your home can collect based on the amount of rainfall and square footage of your home. For example, a 2000 sq. ft. home collects about 1247 gallons of water with just 1″ of rainfall. How much water could you collect from your roof?

Download calculator