Rainwater Collection

Above: Variety of IBCs (individual bulk containers) now found on the allotment site.

Each now (as at March 2023) containing 1,000 litres of water.


Brighton Grove is a self-administered allotment of 47 plots situated in the centre of Manchester.  We are wildly oversubscribed so we now offer half and quarter plots to include as many enthusiasts as possible and have well over 100 tenants,  

It is a little paradise, ‘somewhere you can think’ is a lovely comment from one plot holder. The site acts as a green corridor between two large parks.   We try to be environmentally friendly with wild flower verges, communal compost bins, individual water butts on many plots, a composting loo and peat free compost for sale in the shop.  For some years, Manchester City Council has banned the use of allotment hoses.  Despite this we were aware we were still using a lot of mains water.  

2021 RHS Tatton Park Flower Show. 

United Utilities had a stand offering some fabulous little reusable water bottles.  Having got my bottle, I asked whether United Utilities provided additional water collection containers for allotments.  ‘We will find out, they said’. A couple of days later I had a phone call offering some water butts.  ‘Nothing bigger?’ I asked but apparently not.  

With the bee in my bonnet and the bit between my teeth, I decided to go to the top.  A letter to United Utilities’ CEO had a response within 24 hours saying ‘can we visit’? We soon had one of their teams on the allotments mapping our rain water collection facilities, plotting our water butt positions, checking the greenhouses and sheds for suitable downpipes and guttering and working out space for the planned IBCs (individual bulk containers).  

The result is magnificent. Our allotments now have 23 1000 litre IBCs across the whole site.  Half of these are filled from rain off roofs via guttering and half have free-standing bright yellow funnels to catch the rain  

Despite the lack of the usual North West rain since their installation in Spring 2022 they have provided us with that extra bit of water during a very hot summer. To complete the project, we have altered all our stand pipe taps to only flow when hand pressed, so there will still be mains water on the site but we hope with a considerable saving.

PS. North West weather is back on track (its winter rain time) and the IBCs are all filled with rain water and ready for summer 2023

For more information email our allotment secretary: BGAA.membership@gmail.com

United Utilities

Our sponsors and partners, United Utilities, also have an article on their website: Harvesting Projects