Rain Water Collector

Rain water underground all year long reservoir for agriculture or service water. To collect rain water in a hidden walkable space, to water all year long without wasting resources, to run a self sufficient toilette and to plump some prototype for aquaponic systems with crops growing and fish farm.

Water reservoir prototipe

This underground rain water collector was designed and built as first prototype from the Architect and Ingegner Alberto Picardo for the countryside upper Genoa in Italy.

The project included a simple but complete program that aloud you to size and set your own collector depending from the “rains” and geographical features of the chosen location.

The collector it’s really fast to be realized and it’s done using only natural materials except for the PVC tissue, chosen for its durability compered to the prize, to have a waterproof layer.

The soil from the excavation it’s re-used to modify the geometry of the ground around the collector to direct the rain water during few rains period, it’s possible as well to implement the capacity using by a roof.

Water reservoir layers

Layers and processes to build the rain water collector.


The most expensive action in order of energy and time it’s to dig out the hole taking care of reusing the soil to shape the ground around the tank.


The bottom of the tank it’s covered by a “sandwich” made out of two sheet of non-woven tissue surrounding a non-toxic PVC layer, to make the tank water proof and protected the geometry from roots.


Fundamental operation, the installation of the pipe is not a banal action, it’s important for a correct draught of the rain water especially during dry seasons.


The most costly and massive material used in the project: the sand needs to be of the correct grain to drain and filter rain water at proper speed.


The top layer it’s filled with, big sized grain, gravel to be walkable on the exterior surface and to drain much water as possible to the sand layer.


The pump system it’s manual to give, to the user, the idea of the value of water and the energy needed to extract it without wasting it.

Water reservoir Context

The context is fundamental in the design of the tank and the planning of its location. The project has been adapted to the situation of the countryside of Carcassonne uploading on the math program all the datas to re-shape it depending on the average precipitation of the site.

During the dry season it’s possible to implement the capacity of the tank by using auxiliary accumulating surfaces to collect much water as possible during the summer rains. In general, examples of reserve surfaces, are:

1 Far roofs (to be connected)

2 Proximity roofs (simple connection)

3 Ground slopes

4 Artificial drains

5 Movable devices

6 Waterproof surfaces

Water Reservoir Consumption

It is necessary before the dimensioning of the collector to deeply analyze the demand of water and the types of consumption that we want to eliminate or to reduce.

In this case we are sizing our tanks for a daily use for watering the garden and the animals of the camping with an estimated consumption between 100 and 150 mc a year.

In this case it’s important to install the device in proximity with the “source” of consumption to avoid energy loss by transport the water from a place to another. Our rain water collector will be build in the garden area, next to a wooden chalet with an exploitable roof surface and the planned greenĀ  house, to easily water the plants and pump without efforts the water in donkeys’ field.

Water Reservoir Education

Another aim of the project, beyond the necessity of reducing water consumption, is to be an educational driving force to push others communities and situations doing the same.

The camping Belvedere is visited every year from numerous tourists and several volunteers and young participants from all over the world. That’s a precious opportunity to show them that another way it’s possible.

The idea is to create a video tutorial, that will be charged opensource, on this platform, together with the drawn instructions and the program to size and shape the device. Everyone and everywhere it will be possible to reproduce, to modify and to upgrade the first DIY prototype built in Genoa. In the camping the project will come with explicative panels, to make customers and visitors aware of the theme.

We recently took part in an announcement for a competition called “EcAUtourisme” to have financial support for project related to water consumption reduce especially for touristic facilities. The will is to upgrade, in the future, this first collector with other devices of which you can have a look in our “water projects” section.


The biggest and special thank goes to our friend Alberto Picardo, the architect (and engineer) who studied and designed this water tank system, building it as a prototype, for his final degree in Engineering, in Genoa.

Following his and ours thinking we choose to upload on this site all the informations and instructions to aloud people to develop, to reproduce and to improve it on their own.