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How we need to prepare


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Using Rain Water at home

Water falls from the skies. It’s a fact that we just do not really appreciate. It is used to water plants, both wild and cultivated, and provides water for us to drink, bathe and cook with all over the world. We need it to live. Of course some places don’t get any rain and thus the water has to be piped in or carried in another way.

In the UK though we don’t have that problem. The water falls freely from the sky most of the year much to our governments chagrin. They would love to control it.

So what do we need to prepare for?

Well simply put, most of the water that falls is soaked into the ground and absorbed by plants or taken away by the drains to be mixed with waste and processed for use. We need to collect and store it for our use and at our convenience. That way we can water the plants when there is little rain and we can also cut down on our water bills, if you have a water meter. However, in the UK water from the tap is treated and has some chemical additives that make it safe and at the same time give you government mandated treatments. Rain water does not have that. We have to process it ourselves if needed.

If you collect the rain water straight into clean containers you can use it straight away either to drink, to wash or to clean. Usually, though we collect our rain water from the roof via the guttering and we tap into the downspout to collect the water.

I have a small system in place. Not perfect but it does me and can easily be expanded as required. I have put on every downspout a device that collects a portion of the water and stores it into a rain barrel. I have 6 downspouts and thus 6 barrels. When the barrels are full, as they do in the rainy months, the water then simply flows into the drains. I could, and will, be adding further barrels to store more water when I have the funds. The rain barrels are made of plastic and light proof and this keeps the water in a reasonable condition with taps at the bottom for extraction. Although this method means the water is contaminated with bits of debris, bird waste and whatever else is on your roof and in your gutters. NOT safe to drink or clean dishes but safe to wash, if you need to, clean non cooking things and water the garden. It is safe to keep the water in this system until you need it.

I usually keep this water for the garden as I am not on a meter. My home, which includes drinking water, washing water and utility water, is from the tap.

If it came down to it and that water was restricted or unavailable I would be forced to turn to the rain barrels for most or all of my water. I would also look for alternative ways of doing things to reduce my water consumption. I could take water directly from the rain barrels to process the toilets while the sanitation systems still worked. I could also take water directly from the barrels, filter it though a cloth, and use it for washing my clothes and dishes after treating it with washing chemicals. You can drink and wash dishes with water from the rain barrels if you process it.

I could easily expand my system to allow this by adding more barrels to the system and storing more water, which I want to do anyway, and adding a filtering system.

I have seen several plans available for a filtering system and the one I liked the most was one that came closest to nature’s way although without the million year wait. The slow sand filter method. It is similar to the filtering system I had in place for my aquarium where gravity moves the water through several layers of media, some biological, each of which filter the water until it drips out of the filter at the bottom clean and safe to drink. I can put aside an area where I can pour the water in the top and wait for it to trickle out the bottom as drinkable water.

Visit this page of water filtration systems available for download.

Finally, if you want to store it for drinking you need to treat it. The usual method of treatment is to put some bleach in the container with the water. Alternatively, you can treat the water using UV light and store it away. The usual method is to put it in clear plastic bottles like empty and washed coke or lemonade bottle and leave in the sun for a few days. This kills any bacteria in the bottle and the bottle can safely be stored away. Put in a cool dark place. I’ve tried this and it looks like it works OK as I’ve seen no growths in the bottles although I’ve not tested any water that I have processed this way.

My main emergency water supply is still water in bottles from Asda. I’ve bought several big bottles and stored them unopened. They seem to last well and I have had to dip into them a few times with no issues.

1 comment to Using Rain Water at home

  • james

    As water is a solvent, surely storing in plastic bottles in the sun will cause some unwanted plastic components to be absorbed into the water? Nice post, just querying this for safer consumption.

    Perhaps glass containers could be a better option

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