Where water is, there life is. All human beings need to drink water everyday in order to survive. Yet, drinkable water is not readily available to everyone—not without a price, as in tap water, which isn’t free at all, or bottled water, which, again, is not free. Despite the ubiquity of water, one can easily overlook a free source of water—rain, which one can turn into clean drinking water with just a few steps. This article describes practical steps in catching rainwater and making it fit for human consumption.
In areas where rain falls frequently, catching rainwater can be as easy as putting a container under the downspout of the roof to catch the water from the gutter. You have to make sure, though, that the container is clean and that it is big enough to store the needed amount. Most of the time, having several containers can be helpful. During rainy days, a container can quickly fill up with water. Large containers may be difficult to move when they are full of water, so it may be a good idea to place each one on a platform with wheels. That way, a full container can be easily replaced by simply pushing it away from the downspout.
While those living in wet areas may find it easy to catch rainwater, those living in arid areas may not be as lucky. Rain fall in arid areas is low. But, it is still possible to catch much rainwater by catching it over a bigger area, in addition to catching it using the roof, of course. The basic idea is to set up a catchment system made up of a flat surface (e.g., plastic sheets, unused roofing material, etc.). One side of the surface must be raised higher than the opposite side so that the rain will run off from the higher side to the lower side. A gutter should also be set up at the lower side to catch the runoff and lead it to the water catchment.
Rain is readily available in almost every city or village anywhere in the world. But, it is not necessarily a safe idea to just stand under the rain with a drinking glass and take a sip. Because of air pollution, rainwater nowadays is no longer as clean as it was many years ago. When water vapor in the air condenses and falls as rain, it also brings along other substances and particles suspended in the air, many of which can be harmful to humans. So, rainwater has to be cleaned first before one even decides to drink it.
Since rainwater also contains particles suspended in the air, it is a good idea to let the sediments settle down first before taking it out of the container. Running the water through a filter may also help. The collected water may also contain bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. Boiling the water will surely kill almost all of those harmful creatures. An alternative way to disinfect the collected water is to mix ten drops of household bleach for every gallon of rainwater. Other methods of disinfecting can also be used.
Water is readily available for anyone, but it has to be collected, stored, and cleaned before it reaches the drinking glass on the table. The steps in doing that are very easy. Anyone can actually do it and can even devise creative methods for catching and cleaning rainwater.