Think about this fact for a moment: According to the EPA, the average US citizen uses almost 100 gallons of water per day. Even in a survival situation (or if power and water were unavailable), each person in your household would still need about 2-4 gallons a day for drinking and maintaining hygiene.
One gallon containers of water and heavy and bulky, can leak, and cannot be stored long-term.
What if there was a way to store water that you could use for your home AND garden, all in one easy to access spot?
Depending on where you live, you might receive a significant amount of rainfall each year, or you might receive very little.
Regardless, when rain does fall from the sky, it offers us a golden opportunity to use what nature provides us for free rather than spending money on it in our monthly water bill.
Another advantage of harvesting rainwater is that it removes your reliance on a community water supply that could become contaminated or cut off by those who control it.
And there could be more rainfall available for harvesting than you might think.
Did you know that the average home sheds approximately 600 gallons of water in an hour of moderate rainfall?
Or that rainwater harvesters can collect about 80 percent of the annual rain that falls on a roof?
In other words, there is plenty of potential for rainfall collection and usage. But if you’re planning to collect a lot of it, make sure your tanks have sound structural support. Water is very heavy. If you have 150 gallons of water, it will weigh 1,245 pounds.
If you decide you want to try harvesting rainwater for consumption or gardening, the first thing you should do is look into whether it is legal in your area.
According to this site (https://pioneerwatertanksamerica.com/is-it-illegal-to-collect-rainwater-in-your-state/), eight states have limitations on collecting rainwater (that does not mean it’s illegal though!). You can check to see if yours is one of them and what regulations to abide by.
Assuming you can harvest water legally, here is a three-step process for doing it. If you are a DIYer, you’ll be able to accomplish this without spending much. But you might want to conduct an Internet search for some tips on each step.
- Install a downspout filter on your home’s roof drainage system. This will divert grime, insects and bird waste from your water supply.
- Install a rain barrel below the downspout filter. Make sure you have a spigot and smaller water vessels so you transfer your water inside.
- Set up a simple gravity filtration system to clean the water.
When harvesting rainwater for consumption, you’re going to want to run this water through a purification system before use (we recommend this water filter).
If it’s for your garden, a non-toxic way to control mosquitos is a ratio of 85 percent water and 15 percent apple cider vinegar. This mixture is perfectly safe for watering your plants and a great way to get rid of any mosquito larvae.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts regarding rainwater harvesting:
- Don’t place barrels near utility services or septic tanks.
- Do filter out leaves and other debris with a screen.
- Don’t leave any openings to the barrel uncovered.
- Do install an overflow port and pea gravel to control excess water.
- Don’t drink unfiltered rainwater.
- Do set up a seasonal maintenance schedule.
- Don’t forget to drain the tank every few years.
So, think about harvesting rainwater in order to save money and become more self-sufficient. It’s just one more step in our quest to rely only on ourselves.