One of the benefits of living in a rural setting is the fact that we can utilize a lot of what nature throws our way. I love our urban preppers but they have a much harder time when it comes to gathering items like rainwater. I have learned over the years that rainwater is a great option for many things around the house. We use rainwater to water our garden, our lawn, and we even wash cars with it. The idea is really simple and when you consider that it falls at a relatively frequent pace, it just makes sense.
Collecting rainwater can be a troublesome job for beginners because it does need to be managed well. How can you collect the water? What needs to be done with the water? The truth is that you can do this and it is not as hard as you might think. Since we live out in the country and we have the space to move around we collect rainwater from the gutters. Now we never drink this water and we do not water our animals with this water. But it is just fine to use the water on vegetation and to even wash with it.
For starters we have several large barrels under 4 different down spouts on the gutter system. They are all in the backyard so it does not create an eye soar. The first thing is to use a barrel that will not leak. We have plastic barrels that can hold up to 55 gallons of water. When they are full you cannot move them so you need to make sure you place them well and that you are set up from the beginning. The top of the barrel is intact. Some people say you need to remove the whole top but we do not. About ¼ of the top of the barrel is open and ready to receive the water from the gutter.
The downspout itself is funneled into the barrel opening. We have placed a fine screen over the whole so that the water is not filled with leaves and other debris from the roof. The screen keeps the trash out and it also serves us well to keep bugs and critters out as well. We have not had a lot of trouble with mosquitos since a fine screen covers the water.
Setup is important and that is where a lot of people make a mistake. Our barrels are not placed directly on the ground. We have installed waterspouts at the bottom of each barrel and we then place the barrels on a block foundation that has them about 2 feet off the ground. This allows for room to attach a hose and it makes the retrieval of the water simple since we allow gravity to do the work for us.
When the barrel is a few feet off the ground water will run form the spout very easily. We attach a water hose to the spigot and allow it to flow into the garden or any other area we need. We have found that 55 gallons of water does not last long so we have 4 of these all over the back yard.
Water collecting is not hard and it can be accomplished by almost anyone. I would encourage you to read up on the process but do not be afraid to try it. It is cost effective and it works well.