Day 9.  I wanted to cover Rain Water collection and usage, since that has been the main preparedness event over the past 24 – 48 hours

I first have to admit I was wrong.  In my post on Day 7, I said I might get 10 gallons of water from my little 9’ x 7’ tarp rain collector, based on getting a .25 inch of rain.   Well, we ended up getting almost an inch of rain.  The tarp rain collector added almost 40 gallons to our water supply.  Because a lot of the rain came down over night and the 5 gallon collection bucket filled up quickly, a lot of the rain was lost.  I don’t know how much more water we could have collected if I had been awake to empty the collection bucket.

At one point during the day, the collector was collecting more than 1 gallon of water every 5 minutes.  I hope the pictures are good enough to show the water flow (Click the photo to enlarge).


One thing that was a little surprising was how dirty the first bucket of water was.  I guess if you think about it, the rain cleanses the air.  We had pretty strong south winds prior to the storm, so there was a lot of dust in the air when the rain started.  Here is a picture of the first bucket of rain water we collected.

We chlorinated the rain water (just in case a bird flew over the tarp and left something while we were collecting water) and then put it through a drip filter.  Here is what the finished result looks like.  It is crystal clear and has a great taste.  We are going to treat 15 gallons of rain water to use for drinking and cooking.  That should be enough water to last us to the end of our 2-Week test.

We are going to use 5 gallons of water to do laundry as soon as we get a sunny day.  The other 20 gallons we’ll use to flush toilets, take showers, refill wash stations and whatever else we need.

How much water could you harvest from rain water?  If I had used one of my 16’ x 12’ tarps we could have collected over 100 gallons of water from the same storm.

How much water could I collect in a year with only a 16’ x 12’ tarp?  I live in a high mountain desert where we only get 13 inches of precipitation a year, so let’s use 13 inches as annual rainfall.  Using a Rain Water Calculator, you’ll see that even if you only collect 70% of the water, you could collect over 1,000 gallons of water a year from a 16’ by 12’ tarp even in a desert.

How much water could an average household collect in a year?   Let’s assume you have an average 2400 square foot house with 1600 square feet of roof and you have a small 12’ x 8’ yard shed.  Using a Rain Water Calculator, you’ll see that even if you only collect 70% of the water, you could collect over 10,000 gallons of water a year from the roof of an average house and storage shed.  Again, that is in a desert with only 13 inches of annual rainfall.  A lot to think about.

A single .25 inch rain storm could give you 175 gallons of water.  With 175 gallons of water to store, your problem would be what to store the water in.  You’d need four 55-gallon barrels, a 275 gallon IBC container, or water cistern.

Still doing Great.  Nine Days and counting.


Ed Rogers
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