In Food, Gardening, Methods of Design & Patterns, Permaculture, Permaculture Projects, Rainwater Harvesting, Retrofit, Water

In this video Rob showcases one of the major water harvesting feature – an underground rainwater cistern – on Rob and Michelle’s urban home property.

This rain tank is unique because it is integrated into our hardscape (patio) so it’s completely invisible to the untrained eye.  In this video I talk about how it was built, how it fills, how it’s integrated into our rain garden and passive solar greenhouse, and details on the sump pump, drains, overflows, and swales. 

Read more about Rob and Michelle’s urban rainwater harvesting system in our blog post How Rainwater Harvesting Transformed Our Urban Home, Part 1

Interested in learning more? Check out our course offerings, Essential Rainwater Harvesting book, plus loads of free resources HERE.

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Showing 8 comments
  • Fathima

    Hello Rob,
    Wonderful video and wonderful work of harvesting rain water. I am still at a loss trying to figure out some simple system to harvest rain water from one of my rain spouts. One of them is directed to the Permaculture food forest whilst 3 others on the property are just going to waste. Keep up the good work!

  • Ally Migneault

    Thanks Rob and Verge for this video. It is concise and well documented. I appreciate this as we venture into rainharvesting techniques on our own home here in Calgary. I know that you have the other large tank on the North side of your home and wonder if that catchment is now used strictly for the food forest out front. I don’t want to overdesign and wonder if one of those systems is prefered over the other?

    • Rob Avis

      The underground tank is used for the greenhouse. The food forest has its own tank however the tank is used to irrigate the salad greens.
      Thanks for the comment.

  • Susan

    Thanks for this. I am considering upgrading from 4 rain barrels to something underground. This is one more option to consider. It looks obvious once it is installed, but I imagine that there was a lot of head scratching before you came up with this.

    • Rob Avis

      Yes, but it really is quite simple. There are a lot of benefits to this solution.

  • kurtis

    As always, a great video! Keep up the great work amigo!

  • Carmen Lamoureux

    That’s such a great system, Rob- It was great to see this step-by-step video, as during our PDC we went through your process very quickly, so this was very educational. This obviously works best in a system with a grade, so you can move that water on down towards the garden, unless you want to use a pump all the time. Nice video!

  • Farah

    Looks awesome! Something to keep in mind for when we are putting in rainwater catchment for our new place. Thanks Verge 🙂


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