open-source rainwater catchment methods and kits

portland, oregon

Pay Attention to Water !  Contain Rain is a local project helping our community of Portland, Oregon to do just that. We are focused on developing methods of catching, storing, and using rainwater. We aim to change the way people think about DIY water conservation. We are open source.

Portland is no stranger to rain, and that is why we have to learn to collect, manage, and protect our water. How do you use our precious drinking water? Why?

Contain Rain is now offering 330g galvanized steel-reinforced "totes"!
These repurposed beauties hold as much as 6 rainbarrels worth of water, with a proper foundation can be stacked two-high, and are only approx. 4' x 4' x 4'. The metal supports surrounding the cistern allows for easy customization with lattice, bamboo fencing and more.

Click here for our offerings on standard rain barrels.


Do you want to work on a project yourself, but need some help? We offer consultation on design & installation.
Drop us a line to talk about your project. We've helped scores of our neighbors create, install, and maintain their catchment systems.
Rainfall in PDX will drop around 30-40 inches of water on your roof this year.1 For an average 2,000 square foot roof (40'x50'), that's over 30,000 gallons. Or nearly 600 gallons on an average week!2

1. Calculate your home's "rain footprint". 2. (@ 75% capture rate) Source:
"Oregon Smart Guide Rainwater Harvesting".
Find your house, measure your roof.
We offer rainwater catchment system consultation. Learn everything your home needs to start harvesting the rain.

Let us help you realize your garden water needs. Our goal is to equip Portland with small-scale urban water catchment systems, for water conservation and emergency preparedness.

We offer 1 hour on-site consultations with two rainwater experts for $40 + 50 cents per mile travel. The catchment cisterns themselves vary in price. Look around for what you need, or call and ask us. We currently offer brand new totes, used totes, 55g barrels (blue/white/green), and various kits through Contain Rain. Call for details. No cisterns ever contained ingredients harmful to humans or the environment.

Be wary of inexpensive totes, as they may have contained caustic or toxic material. Always ask what they contained and do not accept a vague answer. Some sellers bought them cheap and are reselling a a profit and do not know what they contained. Ask for an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet).

The ability to connect cistern(s) is limited only to the amount of appropriate space and needs of your garden. Capacities generally available for repurposing are 330g, 275g, and 55g cisterns. They can be linked in any configuration. IBC totes (275g & 330g) are easy to integrate into any garden and hold as much water as 6 linked rainbarrels. The metal meshing surrounding each provides the ability to attach latticework for growing creeping vegetables, or to attach camouflage fencing around the cistern. How much rain should I collect?

330g: 48"-deep by 40"-wide by 54"-high (4' x 3.3' x 4.5'). Surrounded by a 1" galvanized steel support "cage" (included in the measurements). The 275g tanks are the same depth and width, height is shorter. The intake in the top (hole in the red cap) is a 2" female NPT (National Pipe Thread). The outlet is on the width plane and is a 2" NPT male industrial plastic, heavy-duty ball valve. The container has a thick plastic 'foot' which steps it off the ground 6" (← 6" included in height measurement).

Intake depends on your site and gutters. The overflow is often built to fit each system, as cistern placement is unique to each site. We produce a 2" intake version of the Contain Rain Water Arm which allows the maximum flow into the tote.

IBC Totes have a 2" ball valve at the outlet. Some versions come with NPT threads, others do not and require an adapter coupling. Outlets can be of nearly any variety, but we find our neighbours prefer a standard 3/4" garden hose adapter or spigot—connecting their hose directly to the tote.