What is a Water Butt? A Beautiful Way to Collect Rainwater

What is a water butt?

This is what I thought when I looked at Hermes' posting in his marvelous 'Gardens of a Golden Afternoon' blog....

If you live in an area where the summer months are dry you may want to collect rainwater from your roof to keep your garden watered. This can be done in a rain barrel or as the people in the UK call it, a water butt.

Plastic rain barrels (in various sizes and styles) can be connected to a downspout of a house to collect rainwater from the gutters. They can collect water through the top lid or through the side through a pipe diverter. If you use a diverter then the rain fills the barrel (or water butt) first then,  once it's full, flows down the drainpipe as usual. A gutter filter can be used to will keep out unwanted debris.

I found several water butt sites and want to share a few fun items with you:

The Cascatia Decorative 245 Litre Waterbutt
is made of plastic, but looks like a terra cotta pot. At the top is a planter! It was designed in Canada and is manufactured in the UK. This fun  water butt features an outlet with an attached section of hose so you can water nearly plants with it. It also has a shut-off valve, overflow spout and a screen guard. Direct your downpipe straight into the top or attach with an optional divertor.

Rustico Walnut-Effect 275 Litre Waterbutt

The attractive Rustico Water butt looks like authentic woodgrain Walnut but will last much longer. It adds a rustic touch and is supplied with a plastic tap and downpipe connection kit.

Roman Column Waterbutts - Green

These decorative columns collect 333 liters of rainwater and add a touch of class to any property. It has a brass tap and a Downpipe Connector.

Noblesse Decorative 270 Litre Waterbutt Sandstone

This is  my favorite - plastic 270 Litre waterbutts that look like sotne. They come in Granite, Sandstone or Charcoal.  Complete with plastic tap and downpipe connector kit

Wall-mounted Water Butt

This attractive wall mounted water butt collects 100 liters of rainwater and can be fixed to a house wall at a convenient height. The compact design has a tap (included) that on can be fitted either side of the butt for easy access. There's a built-in overflow system that automatically tops up the butt when it rains, diverting excess water back down the drain pipe.

Old Fashioned Rain Barrel
And to collect the rainwater like the US settlers in the Wild West used to do then this 59 gallon white oak barrel (recycled from whiskey barrels and wine casks) fits the bill!
The wooden whisky barrel is 30 inches in diameter and 40 inches tall. When its full of water,  it would take a strongman to move the barrel. The barrel comes with brass spigots and a  brass overflow with a 3/4 inch hose and a downspout filter.
There are so many more models to choose from but these water butts and rain barrels should get you thinking of ways to collect the rain  before the hot weather comes along.


  1. I have connected five water butts together as you call them. I actually refer to them as "rain barrels". This is a great way to accumulate rain water and save on watering the garden.

    We recently put in a water softener and the rain water saves us from using it so much! Great post and information! I too have a post about this...

  2. Please can you tell me where these "water butts" can be obtained. I am in Cape Town, South Africa and due to global warming our winter rain doesn't come anymore. The dams that supply about 5 million people have dried up to little more than mud puddles. We have had a few unseasonable showers however, and I am trying to catch the rain from the roof in heavy-duty plastic bags. But they keep bursting, so this is not working. We can get some water tanks here but they tend to be ugly and not the right size to fit onto my tiny property. Any assistance you can give would be much appreciated. For e.g. -- the ones you show -- do they all come from the same supplier? Thanks!

  3. P.S. From which country in the world can these "water butts" be purchased and would the manufacturing company be willing to set up an agency in South Africa?

    1. Patricia Torngren - here is a good website to check out: https://www.waterbuttsdirect.co.uk/

    2. Thank you Jan, I have been at that site over and over because they are so beautiful. But they are in the UK and I am in Cape Town, so to get the four I need for my garden (three down-pipes) shipped out here would cost more than the water butts themselves. We can get beautiful rainwater tanks here that would store a LOT of water (which is what we need in this terrible drought -- a bank of three of them linked up stores 3,000 litres), but once again they are too expensive. The very basics to store all the water I could harvest from my roof during winter to help me through the next summer would come to something like ZAR R100,0000!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hello
    I Read your article. Thanks for sharing such beautiful information, and I hope you will share some more info about Water Butts. You wrote really very well, I really like your blog and information provided by you. I appreciate your work.


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