Rainwater collection and mosquito concern:
Rain Barrels have a insect screen on top and are not a breeding place for mosquitoes. The particular rain barrel in the video has about 6" deep lid to keep a planter. It gets filled with water and has to be emptied out after the rain. Underneath the lid there is a insect screen which covers the rain barrel. Scroll to the bottom of page to see pictures.

Rainwater Harvesting in Desert

El Paso gets about 8" of rain annually. During the stretch of drought for last few years it has been even less. With this scant rainfall is it even worth fitting a rainwater collection system?
1 inch of rain on a 1000 Sq. feet area amounts to about 600 gallons of water.
A large amount of water runs off on the hard surfaces during the rain, carrying with it many pollutants found on the roads and other urban hardscapes.

The rainwater becomes specially precious in our desert climate as the soil and the community water are alkaline. Rainwater normally has slightly acidic pH and is free of salts, minerals or disinfectants like chlorine & chloramine present in the community water supply. With these properties the rainwater allows plants to absorb nutrients more efficiently. It also reduces the soil alkalinity and possibly helps wash down some contaminants in the soil.
So yes, it is well worth harvesting the water in this desert climate and slowing down the runoff at least from our homes. Harvested water is used mostly for the garden. It is not potable as it carries with it dust and small debris from the roof and gutters.
We don’t realize but an amazing amount of water is collected off the roof in just 15-30 minutes of good rainfall.


The set up is extremely easy and does not need a professional to install the system.

You will need:

  • Rain Barrel
  • Rain Gutters
  • Brackets and screws, end caps, for the rain gutter
  • Silicon glue to join the gutters
  • Down sprout or Rain Chain
  • Down sprout adaptor
  • Rain Chain adaptor if using rain chain

Most supplies including rain barrel are available at the home improvement stores. In El Paso, both Lowe’s and Home depot carry the supplies.

  • Attach rain gutters to roof fascia: Brackets are attached to the roof fascia and the rain gutters then simply rest on the brackets. Keep in mind to attach one end of the gutters at-least an inch higher than the other for every 20 ft of length to allow the water to flow towards the rain barrel. To help achieve the right slope a string could fastened between two nails on the fascia. Hammer in two small nails 20 ft apart (length of 2 gutters) with one nail hammered at a higher level than the other. Tie a string between the two. Brackets can then be installed along the string.
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Rain barrel with down sprout from the rain gutter
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  • Down sprout or rain chain: Down sprout carries the water from the gutter to the container. Rain chain is a decorative yet functional alternative to down sprout. A number of designs are available online. Rain chain may specially be more suited for a container near a backyard patio or in the front yard/front porch where it will be functional without compromising the aesthetics of the house.

  • Rain chain gutter adapter is available in different shapes; some may be pipe shaped and others cup shaped. These links show examples of the two different types of adapter:

Rainwater barrel, rain chain
The top lid in this rain barrel has space to keep a planter or other garden art object.
There are other designs with a convex or flat lid as well.
Rainwater barrel insect screen
Insect screen underneath the lid, covering the top of the rain barrel.

There is a faucet at the lower end and a hose at the base of the rain barrel.
Here are some online links for rain chains, adapters and rain barrels. Google search and you will find number of other good online companies. They can also be bought through amazon or Ebay.