It’s no secret that water is a precious resource. In some parts of the world, access to clean drinking water is an ongoing challenge, and in other places, it’s a high expense. That’s why more and more people are looking into ways to collect rainwater for their needs. But can you collect rainwater as drinking water? Is it safe to drink? And how do you go about collecting it?
In this blog post, we will explore the methods for collecting rainwater and answer some common questions about using rainwater as your primary source of drinking water.
Why Do People Collect Rainwater?
There are many reasons why people collect rainwater. In areas where water is scarce, collecting rainwater — or, as the practice is sometimes known, “rainwater harvesting” — can be a way to ensure a clean water supply. In other cases, people collect rainwater to save money on their water bill or to reduce their reliance on government-provided water. Some people even harvest rainwater to use for watering plants or other outdoor needs.
Whatever the reason, collecting rainwater can be a great way to conserve water and reduce your environmental impact, as long as you do so safely.
How Can You Collect Rainwater?
There are many ways to collect rainwater, from simple DIY systems to more complex commercial setups. The most important factor is to make sure your system is properly equipped to harvest and store the water safely. Some of the most common methods for collecting rainwater include:
- Using a barrel or cistern: This is one of the most common methods for collecting rainwater. You can purchase barrels or cisterns specifically designed for this purpose or repurpose other containers like food-grade plastic drums. Make sure whatever container you use is clean and has a tight-fitting lid to keep out debris and animals.
- Installing a gutter system: If you have gutters on your home, you can install a system to collect the water as it drains. There are many different types of gutter systems available, so you’ll need to do some research to find the best option for your needs.
- Using a rainwater catchment system: This is a more complex system that involves harvesting water from your roof and storing it in a tank. These systems can be expensive to install, but they’re very effective at collecting large amounts of rainwater.
Is Collecting Rainwater Legal?
Many people assume that rainwater is a freely available resource and not subject to any laws or regulations. And in some parts of the world, collecting rainwater is legal. But in other areas, there may be restrictions on how much water you can harvest or what you can use it for. This is because rainwater is considered a “common resource,” which means it’s owned by everyone and no one person can claim exclusive rights to it. So if your area needs a certain amount of rainfall for ecological reasons — say, during a water shortage — it may be against the law to collect rainwater for other purposes.
Before you invest in a system and start collecting rainwater, it’s important to check the laws in your area to make sure you’re not breaking any rules.
Is Rainwater Safe to Drink?
Yes, rainwater can be safe to drink as long as it’s collected properly and stored in a clean container. However, it’s important to note that rainwater itself can contain pollutants like bacteria, viruses, and chemicals, so you probably don’t want to drink it as-is.
Does Rainwater Need to Be Filtered?
Yes, rainwater should be filtered before drinking it. Because rainwater can contain contaminants, it should be cleaned and purified before consumption.
There are many different types of water filters available, so you’ll need to choose one that’s right for your needs. Some filters can be installed in line with your rainwater collection system, while others are standalone units that you can use to filter harvested water before drinking it.
Other Uses for Rainwater
Rainwater can be used for more than just drinking water, especially if you’re uncertain of its potability. For instance, rainwater can also be used for:
- Watering plants
- Washing clothes
- Flushing toilets
- Washing dishes
Whether you’re trying to reduce household utility bills or increase your home’s sustainability, rainwater is a great way to conserve water and reduce your reliance on municipal water sources. But especially if you plan on repurposing rainwater for anything more personal, like bathing or washing dishes, it’s still a good idea to filter your collected water before use. This will reduce your exposure to potentially dangerous contaminants.
The Drawbacks of Rainwater Harvesting
Even though there are many benefits to rainwater harvesting, there are also a few drawbacks to consider. One of the biggest is that rainwater harvesting systems can be expensive to install, especially if you’re starting from scratch. And even though rainwater is free once you have a system in place, you’ll still need to invest in a way to collect and store it. This can add up, especially if you live in an area with low rainfall.
Another potential drawback is that rainwater harvesting systems require regular maintenance to keep them functioning properly. This means you’ll need to check your system regularly and clean it out when necessary. Otherwise, your collected water could become contaminated and unsafe to use.
Finally, rainwater harvesting systems only work when it rains, so you’ll still need another water source for times when there’s no precipitation. This is why many people who collect rainwater also have a backup water supply, like a well or a municipal water connection.
Whole-Home Filtration from The Science of Water
If you’re looking for a way to filter all the water in your home, not just the rainwater, you may want to consider a whole-home filtration system. These systems are designed to remove impurities from all the water that enters your home, including from private wells or municipal water supplies.
At The Science of Water, we assess and install water filtration systems to meet your unique needs. Using filtration technology backed by NASA and the EPA, our advanced water systems purify your water supply to the highest standard. Whatever you’re looking for in a water filtration system, we can help you enjoy H2O that’s clear of contaminants and delicious to drink.
We even offer free water quality testing and consultations. When you need answers about the safety of your local water supply, our technicians can assess your situation for waterborne threats and recommend the perfect filtration system to suit your needs and budget.
For more information about The Science of Water or to book your free water test, just get in touch with our team today!