Emergency Rainwater Tanks
Emergency rainwater tanks collect and store rainfall that may then be used at a later time, such a during a drought or similar water crisis. These tanks are especially useful in arid climates, where they are used to collect water during the limited rainy season. Rainwater tanks that are well maintained may last for a very long time and provide large stores of water.
Stored water is often used for gardening, irrigation, agriculture, flushing toilets, washing cars, or washing clothing. It can even be used as drinking water provided that it is not contaminated. A fairly small amount of rain fall can yield quite a bit of stored water, which then reduces dependence on main water and increases self-sufficiency. Though rainwater tanks may seem to have high initial costs, they quite quickly recoup that expense, especially when maintained correctly.
Most rainwater tanks are fitted with screens that prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the collected rainwater. However, without proper maintenance, the user runs the risk of developing a larval infestation. Care must be taken to avoid this situation, especially in climates where mosquitoes carry disease or in any situation where the collected rain water is meant for consumption.
Often rainwater that is used for consumption is filtered first. Reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration are common filtration procedures that provide safe drinking water. Rain water is pure but it may pick up pathogens or chemicals as it falls. Generally, though, rainwater is considered safe to drink if it smells, appears, and tastes clean. Therefore, rainwater tanks may be used to collect emergency drinking water, especially if a filtration system is available. This means that given the absence of typical drinking water sources due to some sort of crisis, an emergency rainwater tank could potentially save the lives of its owners.
In order to prevent contamination, some home maintenance is required. Cleaning gutters and rooftops that runoff into an emergency rainwater tank is important in order to preserve the cleanliness of the collected water. Protective screens must also be meticulously maintained in order to prevent debris from collecting in the water and to avoid mosquito breeding. Emergency rainwater tanks should also on occasion be drained and cleaned of algae or any other growth or collection within.
Rainwater tanks are rust and chemical-resistant, preserving the integrity of the water stored within. They are generally stored above ground and made of opaque materials in order to keep out light and limit the growth of algae. Tanks may be made of plastic, fiberglass, stainless steel, galvanized steel, or concrete. Steel tanks are typically lined with plastic in order to extend their lives. They may be installed to collect water from patios, driveways, or other solid surfaces as well as rooftops.
A small amount of rainfall may yield quite a bit of stored water. For example, just one inch of water over a 1,000 square foot rooftop produces 623 gallons of water. This water may then be used for everyday activities or stored in anticipation of an emergency situation.
It is important to be aware of the water rights laws in one’s area. Though water collection for personal use is nearly always legal, restrictions are sometimes quite stringent, as in the state of Colorado.
A rainwater collection tank provides an excellent way to conserve water, which is a tremendously environmentally friendly step to take. It also increases one’s self-sufficiency and provides peace of mind should a temporary water crisis arrive.