How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

How To Collect Rainwater – The Basics

It occurs to me that while I talked about the legalities involved yesterday, and I’ve covered how to calculate the approximate amount of rainwater you can capture, I haven’t really talked much about the actual logistics involved. I thought I had, but I haven’t.

So today and tomorrow, I’ll remedy that.

A Few Assumptions

First, I’m going to assume that you’re not going to treat this water. If you’re using it for gardening and the like, this isn’t much of an issue. If you plan to drink it, you’ll want to run it through a filter first.

Second, I’m going to assume that you’re not after a ton of storage. That you’re not after filling 5,000 gallon tanks or something. More along the lines of several hundred gallons.

The Basics

Your first step is to figure out where to put your tanks. It’s definitely easiest to put all of your storage in one spot as opposed to putting them all over. So I don’t recommend putting a barrel under every downspout.

The actual location is mostly going to depend on your main usage goals. For example, if you’re going to be using it for your garden, you’ll want your storage near the garden, ideally uphill so you can have gravity pressure working for you.

The proximity to the roofs you’re using to gather the rain is also somewhat important, but depending on your site it may not be all that relevant. You can generally run pipes to get from the rooflines to your storage.

The Tanks

The easiest thing to use here, and what I’ll recommend, are 55 gallon blue or black drums. You can get them from a number of different places, and they’re generally not too expensive.

They are easy to plumb and they are modular enough that you can start with a smaller amount of storage and work your way up if your needs expand.

The most important part about putting your barrels in is to make sure that they’re reasonably level with each other. It’s not critical because water will seek level on its own, but everything is much easier if the bottoms of the barrels are level.

It’s also important to make sure that whatever you put them on is sturdy. Very sturdy. When full, a 55 gallon drom weighs about 460 pounds.

If you don’t want to use 55 gallon drums, the IBCs are good solutions as well. ¬†An IBC tote can hold hundreds of gallons, depending on the size. ¬†Definitely a reasonable solution, albeit a bit harder to find.

How To Plumb This All Together

I’ll cover this part tomorrow … stay tuned!

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5 Responses to How To Collect Rainwater – The Basics

  1. Great post. I’d add just one comment: i you’re planning on storing the water for drinking, make sure you get food-grade barrels that have been used with food products only. There are lots of these out on Craigslist for not alot of money, but they often have had paint mixes or other chemicals in them. I wouldn’t trust them for something I’m going to drink.

    • Very true. I talked about water containers in depth several months ago, I’ll be sure to link to that post tonight.

  2. Any idea how long this water would be good for for consumption in a SHTF type situation? Is there anything we could do to extend the storage of the water? I expect to use the water to feed the farm animals in order to rotate on a regualar basis and to have on hand in a SHTF situation as we are on well water. If we loss power we loss water. We have generator but once we run out of fuel, we run out of water. We have a two ponds on the property for the farm animals, but I sure don’t want to have to use that water to sustain us. I do have filtering capibilites and purifications set up just in case, but would rather have another rainwater available before I have to use the pond. LOL! Love this site.

    • As long as you have a filter, it’ll be fine. I wouldn’t trust it for drinking straight off the roof without filtering.