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It's estimated that over 5000 gallons (24,000 litres) of rainwater could be collected each year from your roof. That's why you should have a water butt in place during the autumn to store water that can be used during the following summer when water companies are struggling to keep up with demand.

In addition to the roof of your house, rain can be collected from sheds, garages and greenhouses. All that is required is some guttering and a drain pipe to direct it into the butt. If one butt fills up, any overflow can easily be transferred to another butt.

Choose a style

Water butts generally resemble large green plastic barrels that blend into the landscape, some are camouflaged to look like wooden barrels, others are taller and thinner to fit into a tight space such as the Ward 100 ltr Slimline Butt with a stand, tap, childproof lid and diverter plus ready drilled accessory connection points.

A tap is very useful, especially if the butt has a stand to allow a watering can to be placed underneath. If the butt hasn't got a stand, locate it on a breeze block or similar.

Simple To Fit

If you buy a butt that hasn't got any connections or fittings, Harcostar has all the accessories you need. You can either cut the drainpipe with a hack saw and place the butt underneath or cut a piece out of the pipe and fit a rain trap, a smaller pipe then takes the water to the butt. Remember to keep the lid on to prevent debris falling into the water and to discourage algae formation.

For most sheds, Hall's Rainsaver Kits with guttering and a rigid or flexible downpipe are an award-winning solution, they can be quickly installed with brackets on any shed up to 20ft in length.

As an alternative to using a watering can to empty the butt, you might want to look at a Hozelock Water Butt Pump. This is a high-pressure pump (1.1 bar). Simply place it in the butt, connect a hose and it can be used to power drip watering systems as well as guns and sprinklers.

Whatever you choose when the first hosepipe bans are imposed, you'll be so glad you had the foresight to buy a water butt.