Rain Catch -- Have you tried it?

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Knowing how important water is to the human body, I wondered how easily rain water could be caught. So I rigged up a deal with four 4ft. metal posts driven in the ground and a square of black of black plastic (with an X cut in the center) taped by the corners to the posts. When the rain came, I let it rain about 10 minutes to wash any dust off the plastic, and then stuck a 5 gal bucket (from the bakery) under the X. I was surprised at how quickly it filled. When the experiment was over, I was able to slip the plastics's corners off the posts, dry it and roll it up. I pulled the posts up while the ground was soft and put it all away for a rainy day.

If we really needed water, we would keep going out with empty buckets and put lids on the filled ones. We will probably rig up something to direct rain catch into a larger container, using 1" x 2" lumber with a point sharpened on one end. If we used 5ft boards, we could get a 32 gal plastic trash barrell underneath (with a mylar liner inside if we were thinking potable water.)

Obviously you could catch much more rain coming through downspouts, but I wouldn't drink that without boiling it. Real Goods has a rain catch system with a heavy plastic 60 gallon barrel and diverter for $100 (www.realgoods.com) or the diverter alone for $15.

I think people would be wise to give this some thought NOW and come up with the equipment you need to do it. The "stuff" is inexpensive and the rain is free.

-- Sylvia (bluebirdms@aol.com), July 29, 1999


Gardenerssupply.com also has rain barrels, 75-gall for about $100. We bought two of them and are pleased with same. We have an aluminum carport next to the regular carport and I catch water from its downspout; still needs to be boiled but no risk from asphalt shingles. The Gardeners Supply barrels have a hose with thumb=switch to facilitate drawing water, an insect screen, built-in child-guard, etc. (Made in Canada.)

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), July 30, 1999.

This is a great idea. We could have several of these raincatchers all over the lawn and get lot's of water for just a little $$$.

-- Homeschooling Grandma (mlaymon@glenn-co.k12.ca.us), July 31, 1999.

I'm doing Y2k in an RV w/rollout awning. You can slant the awning to one end, attach a 5 gal bucket to a hook to collect the runnoff. I've drilled and attached a nipple and hose bib to the bucket. By connecting a water grade hose with the male end cut off I can run the water into the waterbed mattreses I will have on the deck ( around 200 gal ? ) Total setup time? 5 min. same for rolling the awning up. ( keeps the bird poop off ) Will cover bed with heavy canvas as I have cats, this is backup to the grav fed water that is backup for the well.

-- CT (ct@no.yr), July 31, 1999.

Great idea, Sylvia.

I suggested using roof runoff for a water supply several months ago, using the water for non potable uses, and potable if you had no other source. I like your idea for potable water. You could still use the roof runoff for other uses, and your visqueen idea for drinking water.

By the way, you'll get about a half gallon (0.6) for each inch of rain per square foot of visqueen. So if your collector is ten by ten feet, or 100 square feet, an inch of rain will give you about sixty gallons of water. Without pumping!

If you put your collector higher than your house, you could have gravity flow water to your sink, shower, etc. For every 2.31 feet elevation above the fixture you are using, you'll get one pound psi. If your collector, or storage drum, is 100 feet above your house, you'll get about 43 psi.



-- jumpoffjoe (jumpoff@echoweb.net), August 01, 1999.

A possible solution to the asphalt or roof contamination problem would be to spread and tack down a sheet of plastic over the roof area from which you would collect the water. If no roof, just find a gentle sloping lawn or piece of ground and channel the flow at the lowest part into your container.

-- johan (reisch@c-zone.net), August 11, 1999.

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