Rain Barrel Basics

Posted by on Jul 2, 2010 in Emergency Preparedness, Idea Corner | 1 comment

Hard to believe at one time it was illegal in Utah and I some surrounding states to capture rainwater. A practice done since Adam and Eve were created and actively done in communities all over the world, rain water is ideal for many situations.

Utah is a desert and the plants (as well as our bodies), need enough water to sustain themselves.  Utah has experienced an occasional drought therefore water is a commodity that at times, is regulated. It only makes sense to get it when you can. Water barrels and cisterns are one method in making that happen.

Assuming it rains (and this year, so far so good), rain water can be a source for water in an emergency. This is a common practice in many cultures around the world. Some have water barrels and cisterns on their roofs to provide water where water supplies are limited.

To start, simply put a plastic 55 gallon drum at the bottom of your gutter. I recommend putting a screen over the gutter spout or the drum (or both) to screen out any leaves, gravel, sand, or twigs that may wash through. Some barrels are designed specifically for the purpose of collecting rain water. You will notice on our website and FaceBook pages that some have elected to “dress up” their barrels by painting them and adding floral designs.  A good rain can fill up a 55 gallon drum in minutes.

Typically the drums have spigots that have been tapped in the bottom, whereby you can opt to attach a hose or just pour out into containers. There often is a tap on top for overflow. This is a great place to put a hose as well so the excess water can be distributed to other containers, plants, or a nearby garden.

Rain water can be used as drinking water, however, it is usually dirty. We recommend filtering it using any one of the handful of water-treatment methods such as boiling, disinfection, distillation, or by using a water filter itself.  It is important to have safe water to prevent sickness, disease, or worse case, death.

Getting and staying prepared is easy. You just have to get started. It all starts with a single step.

One Response to “Rain Barrel Basics”

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