Cisterns and rain barrels are essentially the same thing. Cisterns are large rain barrels. They are both large tanks that capture water from a collection area (i.e. downspout). These tanks can be used to capture, store and reuse rain water. The tanks can be installed either below or above ground, but require a proper base since a full tank can weigh a few hundred pounds and may sink if not installed correctly.
Rain water from most roofs can be considered "gray water" and can be used for processes such as watering plants and flushing toilets. In addition, using a cistern or rain barrel reduces the load of storm water and helps prevent run-off. It also helps reduce the use of potable water for irrigation.
For a relatively low cost, you can install a cistern with some accessories to water your plants and help reduce your water costs. Cisterns and Rain barrels are low maintenance but typically require a cleaning once a year and regular inspection to ensure seals are functional and that there are no clogs in the system.
If you are interested in this or other great green landscaping/construction solutions please give us a call 301-603-1080.