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UPDATE 05/02/2024: The City of Omaha's free rain barrel giveaway has been filled. All available rain barrels have been reserved. Thank you for your interest! Special thanks to American Laboratories, Inc. for donating the plastic, 55-gallon barrels!

If you received a free rain barrel through the City of Omaha's giveaway program, join us for this decorating contest!

Now through July 31st, enter for a chance to win:

1. Install your rain barrel
2. Decorate your rain barrel 
3. Submit a photo by July 31st for a chance to win these great prizes: 1st place: $50 Mulhall’s gift card; 2nd place:  $25 gift card Mulhall’s gift card  

Contest Eligibility: Only rain barrels received through the City of Omaha’s 2024 rain barrel giveaway or at workshops hosted by Keep Omaha Beautiful and the City of Omaha are eligible for this contest. Thanks for participating!

Rain Barrel Resources

What is a Rain Barrel?

Rain barrels capture water from a roof and temporarily store it for use on lawns, gardens, or indoor plants. They are simple to install and use, and provide many economic and environmental benefits!

Benefits of Rain Barrels

  • Utilizing rainwater collected from your roof can supplement tap or hose water, which saves you money while conserving a natural resource.

  • Redirecting water from a downspout into a rain barrel helps slow the flow and volume of rainwater runoff, which can damage home foundations and remove nutrient-rich topsoil.

  • As rainwater runoff passes over land and hard surfaces, it can pick up contaminants that cause pollution. Capturing rainwater and slowing runoff can help to reduce this form of water pollution.

  • Natural, untreated rainwater is beneficial for plants, and utilizing it in your landscape helps reduce the amount of water needed from municipal sources.

Important Note: Do NOT drink rain barrel water, and do not use it to wash hands.

How to Use Water from a Rain Barrel

  • Rain barrel water is good for watering lawns and landscaping.

  • Use it on flowers, houseplants, shrubs, and trees.

  • You can also use it to rinse off patios, sidewalks, or gardening tools.

  • Rain barrel water is not recommended for use on edible garden plants like vegetables.

How to Install a Rain Barrel

  • Install screens for safety and to keep pests like mosquitoes out.

  • Tips: Elevating your rain barrel on a platform will increase the pressure when water comes out, which may make use easier. Water pressure from a rain barrel will be less than from an outdoor spigot, so it may not work for a sprinkler. However, you can try to use rain barrel water for soaker hoses, especially if your barrel is elevated. Use caution when installing to make sure your barrel is level and won’t tip over, especially in high-traffic areas, or if children or pets will be in the same area.

Maintaining Your Rain Barrel

Additional Resources:

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