We live in the Pacific Northwest, so rain is abundant here. We have rain barrels on every corner of the house and use the water during the dry spells to water our lawn and ornamentals.
DH scored some clean barrels from one of his customers, and placed them on cinderblocks, about 2 - 2.5 feet off the ground. This allows for gravity to feed the hoses. He drilled a hole near the bottom of each barrel, and installed a spigot, using some kind of waterproof adhesive to hold it in place. He gut a square in the top of the barrels and secured a fine mesh screen over them. Then he cut and redirected the downspouts to empty water out overthe screen mesh. Hook up a hose to the spigot, and we are good to go. A good rain can fill the barrels in hours.
Its kinda funny that with all the rain we get here, the State of Washington actually owns the water that falls on our roof! On one hand, they claim that the rainfall runoff is figured into the water availability forecasts, and they don't want any commercial organizations "stealing" their water and skewing the forecasts. On the other hand, they tell us to not let water run off our property into the catch basins. And on the third hand, the country gives classes on how to build rain barrel systems and the govt builds public buildings that catch and re use rain water. I understand that there is legislation afoot to change the law, but is definitely an example of one agency not knowing what the others are doing.
Things do not change; we change.
Henry David Thoreau