Rainwater harvesting project Save-Water-Save-Money

Rainwater Harvesting Project

Save Water Save Money

Rainwater harvesting project water butt-1500ltr

Water For:





Flower Beds

3,840 litres

4,260 litres

Self Sustained

Self Sustained

Hanging Baskets


2,240 litres

Self Sustained

Self Sustained

Flower Box’s


6,920 litres

Self Sustained

Self Sustained




Self Sustained

Self Sustained

Total Litres




Increase + 9580

100% Sustainable

100% Sustainable



In 2014 Swinford Tidy Towns applied to the Mayo Co Co Local Agenda 21 grants program for funding for our rainwater harvesting project. Thankfully we were successful with our application and we began the first phase of our Rainwater Harvesting project. This means we are now totally self sufficient for all our water needs for watering all our existing hanging baskets and flower beds.

We have one large 1500 litre rainwater harvesting tank located at the No Name Club and 5 more smaller 250 litre water butts located around town at various locations. This will allow us to add more flower beds, hanging baskets and planters in a more sustainable manner. This is a pilot project which is at an early stage yet but we plan on extending it to the estates in the wider community as successful grant applications and as funding permits.


We tend to use tap-water for all of our water needs. This water is cleaned, treated and pumped to our houses and is of drinking quality. But most of the water we use in our homes and schools doesn’t need to be of drinking quality. Washing your car with a hose can use up to 300 litres of water alone, which is roughly about 35 buckets. How many litres of water does it take to water flower beds and hanging baskets in hot weather! Have a look at our chart opposite and you will see how much water it takes to water all the hanging baskets, planters and flower beds around Swinford town!

If you are having a new school or school extension built, you can get a simple gravity-fed system installed in the roof of the building which collects rain water to flush the toilets. It is quite expensive to retrofit such systems, but schools can collect rainwater simply and inexpensively for other uses. Since water meters were installed in all homes in recent years its even more important now to reduce and save water. Have a look at our page on ways to save water in the home.

Rainwater harvesting project 250 litre water butt


There are several rainwater butts available to buy commercially. These usually come with a diverter kit which attaches to your downpipe and stops the butt from overflowing once it is full, like the one on the left. When the water butt is full, the rainwater just continues on down the downpipe, preventing the water butt from overflowing. During the wintertime, personally I disconnect my own water butt from the down pipe and drain down the water butt. This is to prevent the water from freezing inside the butt and risking cracking the plastic. Its just a matter of simply connecting up the pipe again in the springtime, ready to collect more rainwater, for free!

There are many different shapes and sizes available. The one on the left is a 250 litre water butt and the one on the right is a slimline 200 litre water butt, suitable for tighter spaces. Prices start at about €50. Make sure to get a water butt with a tamper-proof lid for safety. You can also use any container and buy a diverter kit for about €10 from your local hardware store. Make sure the container was not used to store dangerous chemicals previously. Make sure also that the container does not have an open top and is child-safe and tamper-proof.

Slimline 200 litre rainwater harvesting water butt
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