When I was in college, my parents bought a huge piece of land in Oklahoma where they planned on building a self-sustaining homestead.
At first, they were really excited, but the longer they lived there, the more they realized how little they actually knew about homesteading.
There was a well with a hand pump behind the house, and they assumed that would supply them with all the water they needed. Fortunately, they were wise enough to get the water tested, and they found out it was tainted with E coli. They were going to need another option.
The Trouble With Collecting Rainwater
So they went out and bought some 55-gallon rain barrels and put them beneath the rain gutters. This didn’t work out too well. The water was really dirty, and by the time the barrels were full and weighed over 400 pounds, they didn’t have a system in place to get the water out of the barrels.
They ended up using tap water while the rain barrels just sat there unused. After a while, algae began to grow in the barrels, so they had to dump them out, scrub them clean, and start over.
Rainwater Harvesting Tips
A few simple things would have made the experience easier for them. They should have:
- Found some cheaper barrels. They spent way more than they needed to.
- Set up a spigot or pump system to get the water out.
- Kept them covered with a screen to keep out all the large particles of dirt and runoff.
- Let the rain rinse off the roof for 10 minutes before collecting any water.
- Taken some time to learn from someone who has experience collecting rainwater.
That last one is the most important. All they had to do was get online and learn from the mistakes of others. Be sure you take advantage of the Internet and all the free knowledge it offers. You’ll save you lots of time and money.