In Episode 2 we discussed Short-Term Water Storage, now we want to focus on our long-term needs for water storage.
Before we get started, first off, I DO NOT recommend setting up a rain catchment system on your downspout as your primary means of collecting your water.
These systems are not designed to be used for drinking water. Rain water is non-potable, which means you can not drink it without first filtering it and disinfecting it to make it safe. We want to have a safe drinking water supply readily available that does not have to be treated before it can be used.
Remember, there are a lot of pollutants in the air that become attached to the rain drops as they fall through the sky, especially if you live near a large city, airport, or industrial area. Then the water runs across your roof and down the downspout collecting any fallout from the sky, bird droppings, and other contaminates and microorganisms along the way, carrying them right into your water collection barrel. flow diverter filter systems will not keep all of these pollutants out of the water.
Rain water catchments are good to collect water for your gardening needs, but not for drinking, dishwashing, brushing your teeth, sanitation, etc. We need to make sure that we are using potable water for any of these purposes.
Rainwater catchments are a good backup supply of water to have in case you did not store enough water or if something were to happen to your water supply, but remember that water needs to be filtered and disinfected before it can be used as drinking water or to cook or clean with. We will get into Water Purification and Sanitation in a future episode.
Long-term water storage is not as difficult as many people lead you to believe, especially if you live in an area where you have a city water supply. If you have your own well to draw water from it is only slightly more challenging as you will see. We will first start off discussing long-term water storage for those of you who are on a city supplied water system and then we will go into the additional requirements for those not using city water.
First off we need to decide how much water we need to store. The easiest answer to this question is absolutely as much as you possibly can. But an easy way to calculate your needs like we discussed in the Short-Term Water Storage episode, is to store at least 5 gallons of water per person per day, plus at least of 1 gallon of water per pet per day. Remember, the water is not only used for drinking.