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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Harvesting Rainwater & Other Money Saving Tips

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

"The minute you read something that you can't understand,
  you can almost be sure it was drawn up by a lawyer."

-- Will Rogers

Harvesting Rainwater

Harvesting Rainwater and Snowmelt Is Simple and Effective…

   Part of our winter repair and fix it projects on our mini-farm will include replacing a well bladder and filtration system which all suffered damage from this year’s extreme weather.  Clean water (and its high cost if through a city government utility) will increasingly become a national problem and today’s post is a repeat of one I wrote last year…

Harvesting rainwater is sustainable and provides many rural communities around the world with both domestic and potable water. It’s also something that’s been practiced for over 4,000 years.

Establishing a rain (or snow) water harvesting system can improve your self-reliance in good times and bad. It’s also a great way to cut costs and in most cases is more affordable than drilling or digging a well. In light of water shortages around world and a depreciating dollar, it can prove to be a prudent long-term investment.

And in a true crisis, a gallon jug of clean water or a SUPATANK will prove to be a fantastic barter item.

One warning: some areas have weird laws about who “owns” the rain and snowmelt, Colorado and Oregon being two examples. In Oregon, for instance, state law says all water belongs to the government, and if you want “to divert or store it, you have to acquire a water right from the state,” says Oregon Water Resources Department administrator Tom Paul.

A Basic Rain Harvesting System That Works!

A basic system is a relatively easy and quick way to get started. The main idea is to catch the rain as it runs off your roof and guide it into a container. Do not use water collected from a roof for human consumption unless you’ve sanitized it, but it’s great for watering your roses, your survival vegetable garden, and your fruit trees.

On a 1,000 square feet roof, a rudimentary collection system can yield about 623 gallons of water from 1 inch of rain. With this basic system and following proper water conservation methods (i.e. fixing leaks, drip irrigation, etc.), you could have enough water for your garden, washing your car, water for animals, and more.

At minimum you’ll need:

§  A sloped roof;

§  Rain gutters;

§  Downspout;

§  A filter to keep out or minimize debris such as leaves from clogging your system;

§  A container for the water, like a trash can or barrel (rainwater barrels run about $100 retail, but savvy  ‘Preppers’ look for discarded food barrels for a few bucks or even free);

§  Secure container cover or screen  so mosquitoes don’t breed in the water;

§  And a method to get the water in the container to where you need it. A pail, a hand or mechanical pump, or simply a gravity fed hose.

If you want to use your rainwater for drinking and cooking (and brushing your teeth), you’ll want to add a few important steps to your system, or hire an expert to do it for you. As you can guess, these steps involve better filtration and purification so it’s safe to drink.

In addition to the steps above, many who use rainwater for drinking also utilize:

§  A  Pre-Wash. The idea behind this step is to divert the first few gallons  of rain water that washes off the roof containing bird droppings, chemical   residue from pollution, sediment, etc., away from entering your water  container;

§  Ceramic  and Carbon Filters. High quality filters can remove inorganic  chemicals and many biological dangers.  Read the manufacturer’s labels for  details.

§  Purification.      These methods include reverse osmosis and/or Ultra Violet (UV) light to make certain even the smallest biological threats, like viruses, are dealt with. 

On-the-Go Ideas You Can Use in a Pinch…

Even if you’re not planning on using your rainwater for drinking, or if your electricity goes down and your home water filtration system, such as the UV light and reverse osmosis, gets knocked offline, you may want to have a few back-ups ready:

§  Take the extra steps to keep your rain catchment system clear of debris and sediment, and protected from mosquito infestation. Even if you only plan to use the water in your garden, this will save you a few important steps if you run into a situation where you need the water for survival.

§  It  may be handy to own one or more hand-held water purifiers, like the Katadyn, which is often sold for camping. You can also find gravity fed counter top versions, such as the Big Berkey, that can purify gallons of water without physical effort. Read the manufacturer’s labels for effectiveness information.

§  Boiling water can help kill many biological dangers, but may not help with all  chemical or radiological pollutants. You might consider using a solar oven to boil water and save on energy and fuel.

More useful tips and resources…

Rationing: Frugal Living Lessons from WWII
Life for women on the home-front during World War II was a challenge. The economic recessions we have had don't compare to what they had to go through. We can learn lessons from their experiences to help us to make it through hard times.

Compost Help

With the garden season starting, your thoughts may turn to your compost. Call your local coffee shop to see if you can get coffee grounds for your garden. Most are happy to give the grounds to you in the interest of recycling.  >>Toni


How home maintenance can save you money
read more here


Where's the Beef?
For many families, ground beef is a popular item on the weekly household menu plan. With the price increase, hamburgers and recipes that include hamburger are becoming somewhat of an indulgence. In order to serve ground beef without breaking the budget, you may need to explore ways to stretch a pound. Read more.

Yours in freedom,

Bruce ‘the Poor Man’


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DAR said...

Another useful post - thanks!

Yvonne said...

Great info for us city folk...