One of the first things that even the most prepared survivalist will soon have in short supply following a collapse is potable water. Unless you have your own well or creek on your homestead, you’ll have to rely on the water you have stored up – which will quickly dwindle. And even that water may become contaminated with runoff of pollutants, fecal bacteria, or other deadly poisons. One source of free and fresh water that you can collect without fear is rainwater.
Rainwater may come sporadically, though, so you want to be able to maximize your collection when it does fall, and have a safe, secure means of storing it. A rain gutter collection system will allow you to do this. And even prior to a collapse, you can collect rainwater to keep your garden well supplied without ever having to turn on a sprinkler. This way you can reduce your water bills significantly.
CAUTION: Some states, such as Colorado, have strict laws against private individuals collecting rainwater, even when they are doing it on their own property. Be sure you understand the local and state laws regarding rainwater collection in your area before you start this project.
• Paint strainer
• 5 gallon bucket
• 55 gallon drum with lid
• Downspout fittings
• Gutter strainer
• Cinder blocks (3)
• 3/4″ spigot with 1/4″ turn ball valve
• Permanent black marker
• Power drill with 7/8″ spade bit
• Half-round bastard file
• Utility knife
• 1 1’4″ galvanized wood screws
Constructing the Reservoir
1. Drill a starter hole eight inches from the top in the side of the 5 gallon bucket with the 7/8″ spade bit. Use the jigsaw to cut around the bucket, leaving you with a eight inch tall ring.
2. Trace an outline of the top of the 5 gallon bucket on the top of the 55 gallon drum using the permanent marker.
3. Drill a hole in the top of the 55 gallon drum with the 7/8″ spade bit. Following the outline you made with the permanent marker, use the jigsaw to cut out a circle. The top of the bucket should slide snugly into the opening on top of the drum.
4. Use the 7/8” spade bit to drill a hole on the side of the drum near the bottom. File the inside of the hole down using the half-round bastard file.
5. Screw the 3/4” spigot securely into the hole. If you are having trouble getting it to fit securely, file the hole down a bit more.
6. Place the three cinder blocks upright and next to one another at the side of the house. Place the drum on top of the blocks, making sure it sits securely and is not in danger of falling.
Extending the Downspout
1. Extend the existing downspout on your gutter to run down to meet the rainwater reservoir.
2. Measure where you will need to cut the downspout so it will meet the top of the reservoir, and mark it with permanent marker.
3. Using a utility knife, cut the extension and fit it onto the existing downspout.
4. Secure it to the side of the house using fittings and brackets.
5. Trace the outline of the end of the downspout on the lid of the 5 gallon bucket. Use the 7/8” spade bit to drill a starter hole, and cut along the outline with the jigsaw.
6. Secure the downspout in the whole on the lid of the 5 gallon bucket.
1. To prevent mosquitoes from getting into your water reservoir, tie a knot in your paint strainer and secure it across the top of the bucket.
2. Secure the lid on the bucket, over the paint strainer.
3. Place a gutter strainer in the opening of the downspout at the gutter. This will prevent the downspout from being clogged by large debris.
Furthermore, you can keep debris out of your gutters with a simple screen installation over the gutter or the commercially available gutter 'louvers' which directs debris over the edge of the gutter while still allowing the water to enter the gutter.
We would love to hear your ideas and suggestions regarding creating your own rain gutter water collection system and what you might use your collected water for.