Whether you’re a full time homesteader, camping out for a while, or simply collecting rainwater to reduce your water bills (and conserve energy), it would do you good to learn how to make potable rainwater. It is important to note that rainwater is generally not deemed fit for consumption, and it becomes even more dangerous if left to gather untreated in barrels.
Start With A Clean System And Proper Collection
Remember that if you start with extremely dirty water, it will be more difficult to make it potable. So make sure your gutters are clean and you have a rain barrel diverter so the water you collect is clear of any debris. This will make it much simpler to start the filtration process. You can also install pre-filters before the rainwater reaches your tanks.
There are several ways to make rainwater suitable for drinking. These are the best options:
This is basically a filtration system with a UV light installed, that can sanitize water by killing off DNA. Note that this method does not filter out sediments like sand and dust, so you will need a pre-filter to keep the water clear and not muddy. Additionally, it may be costly to run it continuously because it uses a lot of electricity.
Passive Gravity Filters
These are countertop filters that slowly filter water. Some look like jugs, while others are bigger containers but they all have one thing in common – water must be fed into the top part, and gravity will push the water through filters. Of course these filters will need to be periodically replaced, but they are fairly widespread and can easily be found.
How To Keep Water Fresh
After collecting rainwater, it may sit around for a long time before it is used. Stagnant water can start to smell and isn’t of the best quality because Here are a few solutions to that problem:
Keep The Water Moving Via Aeration
If you aerate the rainwater after filtering, the oxygenation can keep the water fresh. However, this will not help with keeping out any insect larvae or new bacteria, so you may need to filter the water once more.
Bleach Is The Best Option
Once a month, you should treat the water chemically (using bleach) to kill off any bacteria, algae, or insect larvae that accumulate in the water. There is no reason to worry about consuming this bleach if you use filters, because the bleach will be filtered out.
Collecting rainwater is a great way to conserve water and reduce your carbon footprint because state-run water filtration uses a lot of energy to bring water through the pipes in your home.
The aforementioned methods can be scaled down for people who are on the go – such as those on a camping trip. Some people collect rainwater during their hikes and filter using a small UV filter, and a filtration jug. The same principles apply, albeit skipping the risk of stagnation.