Rain Barrels

Rain barrels are used to collect and store rain water that runs off your roof. This water can be used in your yard, reducing treated water use.
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Rain Barrel Rebate Program

Back by popular demand, The City of Red Deer is once again offering the Rain Barrel Rebate Program where residents who purchase and install a new rain barrel can apply for a rebate of up to $50.

Beginning April 9, 2018 rebate application forms will be available:

  • Online on this page
  • To pick up from the first floor of City Hall (4914 – 48 Avenue) or from Environmental Services front desk at Civic Yards (7721 – 40 Avenue)


Who qualifies for a rebate?

You qualify if you:

  • Are a city of Red Deer resident
  • Have a City of Red Deer utility (water bill) account
  • Purchase a new rain barrel in the 2018 calendar year
  • Install and operate the rain barrel at a property located in the city of Red Deer
  • Have not purchased the rain barrel through another municipality’s incentive program
  • Include an original or copy of the receipt of your rain barrel purchase. The receipt must clearly indicate the name of the store, product name, price and date of purchase. Your name must be clearly written on the receipt.

The program runs from April 9 to August 31, 2018. A limited number of rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. A rebate of 50 per cent of the cost of the rain barrel, up to $50, is applied to your utility account. Please allow eight to twelve weeks for the credit to be applied to your account.

Maximum one rebate per utility account. Previous participants in the program are not eligible to receive another rebate.

For more information, please refer to our Rain Barrel FAQ (pdf) .

What is a rain barrel?

Inexpensive and easy to install, rain barrels are a great way to conserve Red Deer’s drinking water supply. Rain barrels collect and store rain water that runs off of your roof. This water can be used in your yard, reducing the need to use treated water from the tap.

Only 0.5 cm of rainfall from the average roof is needed to fill up a typical barrel, which usually holds 200 to 400 litres. Peak summer months can see 10,000 litres collected.

Why should I use a rain barrel?
  • Reduces the need to use treated water for landscaping, helping to conserve water and potentially saving money on your utility bills
  • Helps to reduce the volume of runoff and pollution into the Red Deer River
  • Helps avoid the risk of household flooding by diverting water away from your home
  • Provides a back-up source of water during low rainfall periods
  • Decreases energy consumption normally required by The City to treat and pump water, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality

Harvesting rain water offers a sustainable way to lessen our potable water consumption, aligning with The City’s Environmental Master Plan.

Purchasing a rain barrel

Rain barrels can be purchased at most local home or garden stores.

With a diverse variety of rain barrels to choose from, ranging in prices, material and features, below is a guide of what to look for when purchasing a rain barrel:

  • Mosquito-proof screen and cover. Mosquitoes thrive in water so ensure they stay out of your rain barrel by using a screen top and cover.
  • Made of recycled or refurbished material.
  • Drain or spigot at the top of the barrel for overflow.
  • Drain or spigot at the bottom of the barrel for draining.
  • UV protection to prevent deterioration (if the barrel is made of plastic material).
  • B.P.A.-free material. Bisphenol-A is an environmental contaminant and is present in some plastics.
How to use your rain barrel
  • Position the rain barrel on sturdy, level ground in front of a downspout close to the area you want to water
  • Connect your downspouts directly to the rain barrel, or install a downspout diverter
  • Attach a hose to your rain barrel to hand water plants or to direct water to trees and shrubs
  • Connect several rain barrels together using pieces of garden hose
  • Ensure the overflow water is directed away from your home to reduce pooling water that could impact your home's foundation
  • Rainwater is non-potable and should not be used for drinking, washing fruits or vegetables, or cooking.
  • Rainwater can be used for watering your shrubs, landscaping, flowerbeds and ornamental gardens.
  • Using collected rainwater on vegetable gardens or edible food crops should be done at your discretion. The runoff collected from roof tops may contain contaminants and currently there are no national or provincial guidelines in place for rain barrel water treatment.
Maintaining your rain barrel
  • Keep it covered to keep children, animals and insects out
  • Empty it once a week to keep algae out and avoid placing it in direct sunlight. Emptying the rain barrel once a week also helps prevent mosquitoes from establishing
  • Algae can be removed by emptying the water and washing the barrel with a 5% bleach solution
  • Before storing it for the winter, empty the barrel, drain the spouts and detach the hoses
Winter maintenance for rain barrels

Rain barrels can be damaged by water freezing and expanding resulting in split hoses, damaged spigots or even a burst barrel.

Prepare your rain barrel for winter:

  • Drain it. Open spigots or hoses and let all the water drain out. You can also turn the barrel over to drain any remaining water
  • Clean it. Debris left in the barrel may cause mold or fungus growth
  • Store it. Storing it inside a garage or shed is recommended. If you do store your rain barrel outside – turn it upside down to prevent any water from accumulating.
  • Remove all hoses and leave all spigots open. Damaged spigots or split hoses will leak.

*Remember to reattach a downspout to direct water away from your home's foundation