A Case for Rain Harvesting and Permaculture
As a ReadyExpert for The Ready Store, I get to see a unique perspective from hundreds of thousands of Americans who have at least one thing in common in their food storage accumulation: They believe that there is a moderate-high probability of a crisis that will cut off their accessibility to food and potable water.
Despite helping dozens of people prepare for crises of all types, they are usually hesitant to mention what kinds of emergencies they think are imminent. As we explore the situational-emergency nuances that each region presents, the first obstacle is always creating a non-contaminable, potable water storage. Among discussions of hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, mass water contamination, inability to pay utilities, and more ... the issue of conservation of water storage looms. As I have explored solutions such as underground water storage, the construction of a well, or specially designed rooms for indoor water storage, each one of these loses their viability in the case of a major emergency and therefore is not a sustainable option for long-term potable water.
One of the most sustainable, accessible, clean, and cheap continual water sources stands the test of time: The harvesting of rainwater. Rainwater harvesting is legal in many parts of the US (abandon hope ye who live in Colorado). The act of harvesting water can be achieved in 1 of 2 ways:
Direct Harvesting: through a PVC configuration that leads water that would normally accumulate in rain-gutters into 55-gallon water drums (which we sell, conveniently enough).
Indirect Harvesting: the use of multiple stagnant water drums placed around an outdoor space that fill-up over multiple consecutive rainfalls.
Understanding which of these two methods will be more efficient for you depends on the amount of average rainfall you receive in the state that you live in as depicted in the model below.
I am from Gilbert, Arizona, which is (no secret to anyone) located in arguably one of the most arid, dry, and scorchingly hot biomes in the country. Just taking a longer-than-5-minute shower let alone having a green lawn is publicly frowned upon. I remember seeing the dirty-looks my parents got from passerby while starting their own collection of big, blue water barrels via our garden hose.
Gilbert receives 8 inches of annual rainfall per year. According to (nearby) Arizona State University, 1-inch of rainfall from a roof measuring 1000 square feet will harvest 600 gallons of potable water when harvested directly. This means that annually a rain harvester from my hometown can save up to 4,800 gallons for personal water storage. If harvested indirectly, a meager 10 gallons is all that could be converted into usable water storage in a year making direct water storage the clear choice for water storage acquisition.
The average human uses around 80 gallons of water every day. This number can be drastically reduced, depending on the emergency, to 30 gallons a day. In an emergency situation in Arizona, 4,800 gallons of water would last 160 days. For 5 people living under one roof needing 150 gallons a day, this water storage would last just over 30 days. So, even in the driest desert, you can work up a sizable supply of water passively in just a year given that you can make an initial investment to create a funnel from your gutter to the storage unit itself.
To further ensure the cleanliness of the harvested rainwater we recommend the use of the Royal Berkey Water Purification System, which can process 3,000 gallons of water in its lifetime, which, for the price at the time of writing this, will give you 3,000 gallons of ready-to-drink water for about 10 cents a gallon (a worthy investment if you ask me). Feel free to reach out to a ReadyExpert, such as myself, with any questions on how you can begin to reap the benefits of clean, natural water storage and/or with inquiries on obtaining your own 55-gallon water barrels and a Royal Berkey Water Purification System.
For information on how to construct a direct harvesting system and start your own passive water storage, indulge in this earlier blog post from Ready Store