Some people like to conserve the use of water in their homes by taking an alternative path and harvesting rainwater for drinking, cooking, bathing, and even irrigation of the land.
“All water is rainwater,” rainwater systems enthusiast and author Richard Heinichen is fond of saying. This a great point, and there is absolutely no reason not to consider going this route for your drinking as water as long as you do it safely.
Unpurified water can make you quite sick because of the many microorganisms that exist in water, some of which carry disease.
So if you decide to consider rain harvest for drinking purposes, consider one of these five methods for purifying your water.
Filtration and UV Treatment—One of the more expensive but effective purification treatments for rainwater is that of a combination of filtration and UV treatment.
As Heinichen explains, physical filters “remove particulates, and the UV-light chamber…kills bacteria and other organisms by exposing them to high-energy ultraviolet light.” These systems are expensive to install, but also cost quite a bit annually. The UV light stays on all year, so electricity costs are, relatively, quite high.
Chlorine—A less expensive alternative, and the one that seems to have the best internet reputation, is to use chlorine to treat your water like most towns and cities do.
People commonly use household bleach for this process, which is of concern to some due to the chemical factor. You wind up boiling the water first, then adding several drops of chlorines into a quart of rainwater.
According to eHow.com, you should “allow at least 30 minutes for the chlorine to disinfect your water if the water is 70 degrees F or above. Allow up to an hour if the water is near freezing.”
Iodine—Iodine works in the same way that chlorine does, so you’d follow the same instructions, using iodine instead of chlorine.
Solar pasteurization—This is one of the more labor-intensive purification processes, but it also winds up being a bit more natural in leveraging the sun for purification.
eHow.com instructs that a one-quart Ziploc bag be filled with water, and that the bag be placed on two feet of aluminum foil, shiny side up in a very sunny place. The bag needs to heat for several hours and the water should remain at 160F or higher for at least that long so that waterborne pathogens can be successfully eliminated.
Boiling the water—Boiling water for 15 minutes allows for the killing of disease-causing organisms. Make sure to let the water cool down before drinking it. Read more about the process here.
Though purification processes can be a bit time-consuming, harvesting your rainwater can have many benefits.
According to Mother Earth News, “’Captured before it hits the ground, rainwater is free of many pollutants that plague surface and underground water supplies and, according to the Texas Water” Development Board, “almost always exceeds [the quality] of ground or surface water.’”
Just be sure to bring your water through the proper purification process before consuming it so that you don’t wind up getting sick.
Source: Cara Aley (Cara Aley is a freelance writer who writes about everything from matters of entrepreneurship to water purification strategies. She is currently VP of Operations for Two Degrees, a one-for-one food bar company).
Harvesting rainwater saves money and allows personal control over how your water is purified and treated. While chlorine and other chemicals are highly effective at destroying most harmful microorganisms, these chemicals are not healthy for humans to consume over the long term (chlorine is even absorbed through the skin while bathing or showering). If chemicals are used to disinfect rainwater or any other water for drinking and bathing purposes, we recommend that this water be filtered to remove the chemicals. Rainwater has also been proven to be much better for garden plants and lawns compared to municipal water which is usually laced with chlorine and/or other disinfectants. Also be sure to choose high quality water tanks for storing the rainwater (cheap, inferior water tanks can leach harmful chemicals into the stored water and they do not last long). We recommend JoJo Tanks products; click on the links below to view the wide range of JoJo water tanks, JoJo rainwater tanks, JoJo tank stands and other JoJo Tanks products available in South Africa.
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