Instructables user, TheNaib, has written a tutorial on how to create a solar thermal water heater for under five dollars. It will involve a fair amount of DIY, but nothing too complicated. designed as a fun project, but with some tweaking it could
Eco-Friendly Outdoor Patio: Gutters on this Longwood, Florida, home direct runoff into a rain barrel. A hose connected to the rain barrel makes it easy to hand-water a few pots nearby. A rain chain also guides water from the roof into a large pot.
How to clean rain barrels. Rain Barrels should be cleaned yearly. Add cup bleach to each and let set 24 hours. Water can be used for dishes, toilet flushing, laundry, etc. at this point, but not for irrigating plants or consumption.