Collecting rainwater is nothing new. It is a process, even a tradition and in some areas a real necessity, especially in areas with a limited water supply during the “dry” season, whether it be in the desert or on the frozen tundra of Alaska.
On the Island of Bermuda, collecting rainwater is an absolute necessity since the island has no natural water supply of its own. All of the homes have special terraced roofs coated with limestone whitewash that drain directly into a cistern located under each home. The limestone whitewash helps to sanitize the water as it drains into the cisterns.
California has had life giving rains this season and even though we are not structurally designed to catch and hold rainwater, many of our residents are taking advantage of the bonus rain fall by collecting as much water as possible in large 32 gallon refuse containers.
Great idea, until it comes time to move them. Water is actually very heavy, weighing in at about 8.33 lbs. per gallon. This makes the 32-gallon trash can weigh a hefty 266 lbs. Moving it is not an option! An easy solution is to either bail the water out by hand, use a siphon tube, siphon pump or a small pond pump.
Using the Pond Pump Shield is also a good idea if you happen to have some leaves or other smaller debris that could clog your pump.
A bib could have be installed at the base of the plastic trash container and it will be much easier to attach a garden hose to it and then fill up your container.
You will need to drill a hole about 2 inches from the bottom of your trash container about 7/8 to 1 inch in size. This extra space will help to avoid and debris that has settled at the bottom. A regular wood boring bit will work fine for this task.
The Celcon ¾ MPT x MHT Hose Bibb Valve available online works well for this application.
To ensure you seal, you will want to place a bead of silicone sealant on both sides of your connection.
Although water storage has been done for hundreds of years, long term storage has always been plagued with a few problems. One of them being that rainwater can get a musty taste to it. Not a problem if it is for your plants but drinking it is not pleasurable with that musty taste to it. A solution for this is a few drops of bleach into the water.
Mosquitoes are another issue that can create a severe problem with water storage. Even here in dry Southern California, we have to be aware the mosquito population in our open water containers, whether it be intentional accumulation or accidental such as a wagon, wheel barrow left uptight or the a plant saucer left out in the open. Mosquitoes generally need about 10 to 14 days to develop in standing water.
For those containers that do not have a tight lid on them, The Home Depot carries Mosquito Dunks that are safe to use in fresh water. These ready to use organic mosquito dunks are safe for edibles and pets. Be sure to use in any open container and even those that have a lid, just to be safe and to prevent any mosquito larvae from having a place to incubate.
With just a little preparation, you will be able to the advantage of all this “FREE” water from Mother Nature. Come summer time, especially out here on the West Coast, rain is rare after our winter season passes. But, just in case we get that occasional summer rainstorm, you will already be set up to collect and to store water.
Be sure to share your rainwater collecting ideas and projects with us at: