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< prev - next > Water for Life - Community water security (Printable PDF)
30 Water for Life
How to collect rainwater
Harvesting rainwater is one of the safest and most effective ways to collect water.
Rainwater is safe to drink except in areas with high air pollution. Rainwater harvesting
is a good solution to both water scarcity and water safety.
Using a tin roof to collect rainwater.
Rainwater catchments and storage
Above ground tanks can be placed next to the house and the roof will catch rainwater
and divert it into the tank. Roofs made of tin or corrugated metal may be used for
harvesting rainwater. Roofs made of thatch may collect too much dirt to be safe.
Those made of lead or tar have toxic chemicals that make it unsafe to drink the water.
Because bird droppings, dead leaves, and dirt collect on roofs, the first rain of the year
should be allowed to run off, washing the roof.
Ground catchments can be used to collect surface runoff. A simple reservoir can be
made to store water by digging a depression into the ground and compacting the earth
or lining it with clay, tile, concrete, or plastic sheeting. These reservoirs can be used
to water livestock or to collect water for bathing. If a ground catchment is used for
drinking water, it should be fenced to keep animals out. And water used for drinking
should be treated using the methods on pages 37 to 43.
Water collected on roofs or in ground level catchments can also be diverted into
underground tanks for storage. This is a good way to keep water cool. It may also be
less costly than building or buying above ground tanks.