How Much Does It Cost To Install A Rainwater Collection System?


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Rainwater Collection System Costs

Outdoor Cost Guides      Landscapers      Rainwater Collection System Costs

By now, most of us are well aware of the need to behave in a more conservative manner where water and energy use is concerned. While a more environmentally-friendly way of life is an intelligent approach to things, it is also a cost-cutting way of life. Just consider how much an urban, suburban or rural household can save through a bit of rainwater harvesting.

While this is one of the oldest activities in human history (since it was an efficient way to maintain household supplies), modern homeowners have veered away from it; opting instead for city water supplies or well water. Yet, huge savings can still be enjoyed on water supplies for lawn and garden needs. This is one reason for the revival of the iconic “rain barrel” system that manages to catch or channel rainwater from gutters to a collection barrel nearby.

Rainwater collection system: by type, labor included in the cost.

Item Cost
Prefabricated rain barrel: at least 40-gallon capacity and fitted with a spigot, PVC piping, and other components to facilitate easy use. $170-$300
Cistern: made of durable material and capable of retaining at least 150 to 350 (preferably 500 or more is best) gallons of rainwater. $150-$10,000
Dry wells: percolate rainwater into the ground. It can be simple and small or quite large but does not supply any water. $190-$5,000
Rain gardens: it may not allow for use of the water apart from sustaining the garden, but should be considered if looking for ways to maximize the value of rainwater. $1,500-$3,000


Other considerations and costs

  • As can be imagined, the cistern is the ideal solution for those eager to have use of rainwater harvested from the home or other property. They will need to be pumped in order to access water and this can be done using gravity feed (the cistern is above the area the water will be used) or through a pump system (which comes at an extra cost). The water will usually be suitable for human consumption, but can also be ideal for the garden or irrigation.
  • A rainwater collection system that captures runoff from a roof will require that roof, and particularly the gutters to be in optimal conditions. If the rainwater is to be potable, it must be captured from a metal roof for safety and simplicity.

DIY considerations

  • It is entirely possible for rainwater collection systems to be a DIY project when it is a rain barrel of 80 gallons or less. A cistern or dry well, on the other hand, is a job best left to the experts.


  • Craftsman Estimator Costbook, complete series year 2019.
  • Latest prices found on Home Depot and other vendor Web sites.
  • Literature review of DIY Web sites.
How much does it cost to install a rainwater collection system in your city?
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Cost by city

  • New York, NY$8,152
  • Bronx, NY$6,699
  • Brooklyn, NY$5,583
  • Philadelphia, PA$6,965
  • Washington, DC$6,044
  • Atlanta, GA$5,468
  • Miami, FL$4,974
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL$5,210
  • Minneapolis, MN$6,112
  • Chicago, IL$7,121
  • Houston, TX$7,345
  • San Antonio, TX$4,930
  • Austin, TX$5,583
  • Denver, CO$4,717
  • Phoenix, AZ$4,976
  • Las Vegas, NV$5,462
  • Los Angeles, CA$6,154
  • San Diego, CA$5,585
  • San Jose, CA$6,746
  • Seattle, WA$4,939

Local costs have been calculated by accounting for labor and material cost differences across different cities. To get accurate cost estimates, indicate yours: