Prepping for possible water shortages is something that many of us should be doing today. Water is the most essential key to survival, and without a supply of fresh drinking water, one cannot make it for very long. Rainwater harvesting is one of the most practical and basic ways to build up a decent amount of water for storage. Perhaps the best part is that the water is free, and once the collection system has been set up, it takes little effort to supply your own viable water source.
If you want to store up a large volume of water, it would be quite costly to do, since you would need to pay for it. You could buy bottled purified water, but it would mean purchasing many gallons to achieve a decent long-term supply. By using rainwater, you are taking advantage of a natural resource. Once you have made your rainwater collection system with the right equipment, you will be able to use it repeatedly. You won’t have to be worried about running out of your water supply, because it will replenish itself when it rains or snows.
Effective Methods for Collecting Rainwater
You may want to begin by filling up smaller jugs, so that you have a ready supply for cooking and drinking in 5-gallon containers. These containers are the type that bottling companies use to deliver spring water to paying customers. You often see these jugs on coolers in businesses, waiting rooms, and even in homes. You can buy them pre-filled, or you can fill them yourself right from your tap. This ensures a decent supply that will be suitable for short term needs, as the jugs can be stored in a basement, garage, or other dry, dark, and cool area.
When it comes to long-term needs, you want to use effective rainwater collection methods to build up your stockpile. The most common and perhaps simplest method is using a tank to catch runoff from the roof. When it rains, an abundant supply of water comes running down from rooftops, into gutters, and then out of spouts and onto the ground. By catching and collecting it, you are actually helping to reduce runoff pollution from storm water that seeps into the ground.
The water that you collect will obviously not be suitable for drinking right away, so you need to take some steps to get it there. Your tank will need a filter at the point where rainwater enters from the spout. This will collect most dirt and debris. Once you have your tank set up to collect, your system will be running on autopilot. As it rains, your tanks will fill up, and as you use the supply, it will go down, then refill when it rains again, and so on.
If you have branches or trees hanging over your roof, you may want to clear them away to reduce the amount of debris that will enter the supply. Although much, if not all, will be filtered out before hitting the tank, it is a helpful step to take to get the cleanest supply possible to make the process run smoother. You can also allow rain to fall for several minutes before opening access to your tank, just so that any existing debris is washed off first. You will want to clean out your gutters regularly.
Another option is to use a clean surface for collection, such as a large tarp, or buckets. With a tarp, you need to get a bit craftier, using stakes to raise the corners of the tarp off the ground and create an inverted area in the center for collection. You could then bottle the water up, and boil it when you are ready to use it. This is a more labor and time-intensive method, but it does work.
- Large, durable collection tank or barrels
- PVC Piping
- Hose for overflow line
- Filter, cut to size for the top of the tank
- Tarp, stakes, and empty jugs for bottling
The most essential piece of equipment needed for rainwater harvesting is a sturdy, safe collection tank or large barrel. You will have to install an overflow line, using a piece of hose or piping. Fit a filter to the top of the tank, where the spout connects to the barrel. You can use PVC piping to connect several barrels, simply by drilling and cutting holes, and then using a plumbing seal to prevent leaks.
As you can see, it does not cost very much to get your rainwater collection system up and running. Once you have it installed and have tested it out to ensure that everything flows smoothly, you will be able to build up a fast supply of potable water. You can have peace of mind knowing that your family will be prepared with water for years to come.