Rain Water Collection
It’s raining…well that is a kind of understatement. It’s been pouring here most of the day, infact, the lake has come up about 6 inches or more today alone. I have been trying to keep tabs on the rising water using a post that supports our wharf deck. Around suppertime today it looked like the water was at least six inches higher than it was early this morning. The last time I checked, about an hour ago, it looked like it has come up a few more inches, but I couldn’t stay out to look for long because another heavy downpour started, leaving me to run for the camp.
I’m A Hoarder
I am a bit of a ‘hoarder’ as Wendy would be quick to point out. I save almost everything I can, just cannot bring myself to throw anything away and if I come across anything someone is throwing away, chances are I will bring it home and save it just in case I can use it sometime for something. That generally means we have more ‘stuff’ around here than we will ever know what to do with, and I am still collecting.
Rain Water Collection
Well with that in mind, as I sit here tonight listening to the rain pounding on the roof of the camp, I am thinking it would be good to have a way to do some rain water collection and save some of the rain for other uses, like gardening, car washing, and whatever. It seems almost criminal to let good rainwater get away. So I got to looking at rain water collection and storage systems, which is just a fancy way to say “rain barrel” And a rain water barrel is just a fancy way to say save some water for a non-rainy day.
Rainwater tanks or barrels are used to save water for use at a later time, such as when water levels are reduced in late summer or in places where water is in short supply. Rain barrels help people in arid areas to be self sufficient. You can use the water collected in your rain barrel for watering gardens, gardening, flushing toilets, in washing machines and for washing cars.
Rain water collection can also be used as a source of drinking water, particularly if other drinking water is in short supply or unavailable. However, if you were to use it for drinking water, you should be filtering rain water first using reverse osmosis or ultrafiltration when it is stored in the barrel. That said, I am not advocating the use of rain water collection as a source of drinking water.
Rain water collection for drinking water can be a complicated venture, with many considerations, such as roof coatings, collection methods, and of course filtration. It can be done, but requires more setup than just collecting water for gardens or car washing etc.
Rain Barrels Are A Bargain
While the initial cost of a rain barrel may seem a little expensive, they are actually a pretty good bargain, especially in urban areas where you pay for water, which is becoming more expensive all the time. Holding rain water in a barrel essentially means you can wash your car or water your garden for free, except for the cost of the rain barrel. You can also make your own rain barrel from an old barrel that was used previously used for something else like food or liquor.
However, a rain barrel has to be a little more than just a barrel with an open top. Otherwise it can become contaminated easily, especially in areas with mosquitoes, which of course is most of cottage country. Whether you buy or build a rain barrel you need to make it a “closed system” which means rain water enters through a pipe in the top, and is removed through a tap in the bottom with no open areas to allow mosquitos and other contaminants to enter the system.
Regardless of whether or not your rain water collection system is ‘closed’ the top needs to be covered, at the very least with screen, to keep mosquitos from using it as a breeding place and to keep other things, like bird droppings from ending up in the rain water collection tank. Don’t forget, rain water stored in barrels or anything else for that matter, quickly becomes ‘standing water’ which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. That is why a covered and closed system is important.
A good rain barrel is a useful addition around home and around the camp. Maybe not so much this time of year, (Fall) but certainly in the summer months when, at times, water can be hard to come by, or at least be in short supply. Plus a good rain barrel is a somewhat of a conservation tool, saving water, something we all need to be doing more of these days.
So I did what I always do when I get to thinking I need something, I checked out rain barrels on Amazon, and sure enough they have them. I kind of like this Rain Wizard 50 Gal Rain Barrel that has a flat back so it will stand neatly against the side of a building. This rain barrel is constructed of plastic resin, it comes in a variety of colors and because it is plastic, it resists rust, mold, mildew and rotting. It is also opaque to prevent the exposure of stored water to sunlight, to decrease algal bloom.
The barrel is constructed to be UV-resistant to prevent fading and deterioration from being exposed to the outdoors and sunlight for a long time.
It also has a brass spigot that you can connect a garden hose to so you can water your garden or anything else that needs some water. You can find out more about this rain barrel here: Rain Wizard 50 Gal Rain Barrel
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