Ever wondered how you'll survive if water isn't just a question of turning on the tap? Collecting, storing, and securing your water supply in a survival situation could mean the difference between life and death. While you can last up to three weeks without food, you can only survive for three days without water.
Water could easily become your most prized possession in a number of survival scenarios, including when travelling in hot climates, like deserts, or if your water supply is suddenly cut off by your utilities company, or if your water supply becomes contaminated following a natural disaster, or even if you get lost while hiking alone in the woods. One of the best methods for securing drinkable water is by collecting rainwater, though it isn't always as straightforward as you might think.
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On their survival blog, the Prepper Drome describe how to collect rainwater if water is scarce:
Rainwater is an excellent source of free water, or so you’d think, right? Apparently not, though.
For example, some Western states including Utah, Washington and Colorado outlawed home owners from collecting rain water on their own properties. According to the good’ ol government, the water that falls from the skies belongs to someone else and you’re essentially stealing if you collect it. So check your laws before moving forward.
harvesting rain water is not as simple as putting a bucket under your gutters; things are actually a bit more complicated than that.
To begin with, contrary to popular belief, rain water is not as pure as an angel’s tears.
The air is filled with pollutants nowadays, not to mention the filth that lies on your roof (you’ll harvest the rainwater from your roof, generally speaking) : dead bugs, birds feces, dust, arsenic, lead, and a variety of other not-so-delicious toxins accumulate up there and will run right into your bucket along with the rainwater.
You must filter the rain water thoroughly. Only if you have a steel/glazed tile roof, you can collect rain water without filtering it. A roof made of asphalt shingles, concrete tiles or galvanized metals will require you to filter the water before storing it in order to remove debris.
If you already decided to collect rain water directly from the roof, remember to let the rain to wash your roof for 10 minutes before starting to collecting it; that way you will prevent larger debris and at least a layer of contaminants from getting into your water supply.
You should use a screen to capture the larger particles from the water, like leaves and bugs.
The rainwater should be stored for later use in a 50+ gallon barrel. You don’t need anything fancy: just a regular barrel painted black to minimize algae growth and to block sunlight. In a SHTF situation, it would be a good idea to hide your rain barrel from your neighbors or passersby using trees or plants.
Whether you choose to put these methods into practice before your water supply is threatened is entirely up to you, but bear in mind that water is one of your most important considerations should things go wrong.