Harvest Your Own God-given Water

Water is something we often take for granted, but it’s something we absolutely cannot live without! As such, I believe it stands to reason that we should do what we can to “recycle” it and reclaim it when possible. Speaking of reclaiming, you might wonder how in the world you can do this. Well, it’s actually not that difficult. Perhaps your parents read you “survival” tips when you were younger, or maybe you own a handy little survival handbook yourself.

In any case, most of us probably know a trick or 2 on how to “harvest” water in a survival situation – obviously, some “tricks” are more effective than others. But the crunch comes when your needs are bigger than the “camping cup-full” you can gather by stringing a tarp up between trees and collecting the overnight dew. Say you have a vegetable field in your back yard but would like to save on water by somehow using rain water instead of city water.

Or maybe you would like to be able to wash your laundry as well as do various outside cleaning jobs with water stored from rain collection. We do know there’s plenty of rain-water to be had if only we can capture and store it. Well, there is one obvious, ready-made apparatus at your disposal – YOUR ROOF! Yeeup, those perfect 500 square meters of honest-to-goodness utility-savings right there above your own head!

Whether you want to save money or “go green”, I don’t care – both reasons are good enough! All you need to do now is redirect whatever rain falls on the roof into a container of some kind, where you can store it until you need it. I’m sure you’ve noticed the rain gutters lining the eaves of your roof, which make their way down into your storm drains. Well, this is where you intercept the precious liquid before it disappears.

You can purchase UV resistant rain water barrels that can hold anywhere from a few hundred liters to several thousand. Choose a size that you can use up periodically so you can clean and maintain it if need be. Ideally, you’d boost it up on a stand of some kind so you’ll have some water pressure – the higher up you have it, the more pressure. Just be mindful of the kind of weight you’re dealing with.

I wouldn’t recommend elevating it up higher than about a meter unless you really know what you’re doing. And even if it’s under a meter, you’d better construct something that can handle the various stresses it will be subject to. I don’t have to tell you what could happen if something in the neighborhood of a ton were to fall from a meter up… Building your platform on solid concrete is ideal, using appropriate bracing and anchoring.

Make a slice in one of your vertical rain pipes leading downward from your roof, and attach an elbow socket with a pipe extension leading into your rain water barrel. You should have an overflow exit near the top so excess water can escape. Rain water barrels often come with a faucet attached, but you can also do this yourself if there isn’t one. Building a custom-made shed around the contraption is a good idea as well, to protect it from additional UV rays.

UV rays promote photosynthesis which results in various algal growth. This is a negative for your rain water barrel. Properly sealing all joints going in and out of your rain barrel will go far in staving off mold that will begin growing in an otherwise wet environment. Both your rain water input as well as your overflow exit, should be caulked and sealed to prevent this.

One last point: Apparently – despite the title – rain water harvesting isn’t exactly your “right” in every country around the world. Personally, I think it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard – but it’s true! Some states in the US require permits – which you have to pay for – to harvest rainwater off your own bloody roof! I mean, rainwater?? Come on man… Anyway, do some local research before “claiming” the air you breathe – I mean, the rain that falls on your roof.

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