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Harvesting rainwater the quick and dirty way

There are some easy ways to harvest rainwater
There are some easy ways to harvest rainwater
Photo by China Photos/Getty Images

It’s Saturday, March 1, 2014, here is Southern California, and for a change it’s raining.

Sadly, despite the severe drought we’re all in, there isn’t much going on in the way of trying to save this precious wet resource. True, there are some large scale projects that are meant to help with this, but there aren’t enough of them, and we’re currently loosing buckets of water that will be desperately missed in a few months’ time. Although there isn’t any way for you to go out and build yourself a new cistern before the storm passes you, there is a way for you to try and save at least a little of this rain for your own personal use before it’s too late.

So, with that in mind here are some simple, last minute steps you can take to harvest rainwater, the quick and dirty way.

1) Get at least one bucket. If you don’t have one, then use large plastic or metal mixing bowls instead.

2) Whatever receptacles you wind up using, you’re going to need to weigh them down, so they won’t blow away in these winds. So, for each bucket/bowel get either one large rock, or several smaller ones. You don’t want to fill them up, so just use enough that they won’t get blown over and lose all of your water in the process. You could even use a brick if you have one handy. Remember, you’re going to be using it to water your plants or garden later on, not drink it, so having some rocks in there won’t hurt anything.

3) Place the weighed down bucket(s) in an open area, where they will get the maximum exposure to the rain. So, try to avoid covered patio areas f possible, but don’t put them where they will impede your own movements in any way. If you have a patio table, or something like it, that will work best. Try to not put them on dirt, as they will sink into the muddy earth as the water begins to weigh them down further.

4) Next, gather up any large water bottles you have. Gallon sized ones will work best, but in a pinch liter sized ones will work too. After all, you’re going to need somewhere to store that water you’re harvesting, right?

5) Periodically you’re going to need to check on your buckets. As they fill up you’ll need to empty them into the water bottles. Then place them back out there to fill up again.

6) Keeping the rainwater in sealed bottles should help prevent mosquitoes from getting into it, and breeding there. However, you’ll still want to write “Rainwater” clearly across the labels, so that no one mistakenly drinks from them. This is rain water we’re talking about, so it might be ok, but better safe than sorry.

7) Finally store the bottles in a cool dry place. Then simply pull them out throughout the coming months when needed. Congratulations, you have now joined the ranks of water harvesters from around the world.

In the end, this may not be the fanciest way of going about this process, but it is effective, and right now that’s what we need. Remember, that what you harvest today, is that much less water that you’ll have to pull from the reservoirs later. So, get wet SoCal, and stay green!

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