Drinking plenty of water daily can help replace water loss, keep your body fit and perform at its best. Many people are familiar to get their drinking water from taps, wells, springs, rivers, or bottles, but they may wonder if rainwater is safe to drink. Rainwater is a good way to save resources. Some people use rainwater for watering plants, cleaning, bathing, and drinking.
However, it is important that the rainwater system is properly maintained and that the water quality corresponds to its future use. In this article, you will be provided with everything you need to know about drinking rainwater and tips for keeping your rainwater safe for drinking.
Is Drinking Rain Water Safe?
There is nothing actually dangerous or bad about drinking rainwater, as long as it is clean. In fact, many communities around the world rely on rainwater as their primary source of drinking water. However, not all rainwater is drinkable. Several physical and environmental factors can quickly turn fresh rainwater into a potential health hazard. They may contain parasites, harmful bacteria, and viruses and have been previously linked to disease outbreaks.
Rainwater that falls on heavily polluted areas or comes in contact with contaminants such as animal droppings or heavy metals may not be suitable for human consumption. Therefore, it is not recommended to start collecting and drinking if you are not 100% sure that the rainwater is clean and safe for human consumption.
How to Collect Rain Water?
Rainwater should be collected and stored in a container. For example, you can collect rainwater on the roof of your house and channel it through a gutter to a rainwater tank or covered reservoir. Some local governments and states regulate rainwater harvesting, while others have limits and restrictions that citizens must comply with.
For example, you may only be allowed to collect a certain number of gallons of rainwater on your property or have specific uses for rainwater that you do not need to drink. Rainwater harvesting systems vary in size, complexity, and cost. You can build your own system or purchase a pre-built one online.
Are There Any Health Benefits of Drinking Rain Water?
A quick search of the Internet about the benefits of drinking rainwater reveals many claims that it is virtually a healthier alternative to other water sources. However, most of these claims are not backed up by strong scientific evidence. Drinking clean rainwater is a perfectly healthy way to stay hydrated, but it doesn’t offer any significant health benefits over drinking water from other clean sources.
Some professionals claim about rainwater is that it is more alkaline than tap water, so it raises the pH of the blood, making it alkaline. However, neither the water you drink nor the food you eat can significantly change your blood pH. Your body has an efficient system for maintaining blood pH at 7.4. Many of the body’s most important functions depend on the rigorous maintenance of blood pH, and abnormalities can indicate serious medical conditions.
Additionally, rainwater is usually non-alkaline. Instead, it tends to be slightly acidic, around pH 5.0-5.5. It can also be quite acidic if taken from an environment with a lot of air pollution. Other popular claims about the health benefits of drinking rainwater include improved digestion and more efficient removal of waste products from the body.
When Not To Drink Rainwater?
Rain passes through the atmosphere and picks up impurities in the air before it hits the ground. It’s not a great idea to drink rainwater falling near chemical plants or near the plumes of power plants, paper mills, etc. Do not drink such rainwater, as it can pick up toxic chemicals from plants and building surfaces. Also, do not collect rainwater from puddles or dirty containers.
Methods to Make Rain Water Safe for Drinking
1. Water Filtration
The best treatment at home is with a water filtration system. Depending on the application, there are various water purifiers, but I recommend using water purifiers for rain water. These systems can remove contaminants commonly found in raw, untreated groundwater and rainwater, including bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, and other pollutants. Different types of well water filters can be used to remove a variety of problematic contaminants from rainwater.
- UV water purifiers and chlorination systems can remove microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses
- Air injection filters can remove iron, hydrogen sulfide, and manganese.
- Media-based filters can remove chemicals, pesticides, nitrates and nitrates, arsenic, and other heavy metals.
You can choose any of the above-mentioned water filters to main your collected rainwater drinkable.
2. Boiling of Rain Water
If you only want to drink rainwater once, the most cost-effective water treatment method is to boil the water. Boiling water does not remove chemicals or heavy metals or affect water quality but kills harmful microbes such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, making the water safe to drink.
Advantages of Harvesting Rain Water
Harvesting and collecting rainwater is a sustainable practice because rainwater is a completely natural resource. If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, you’ll have plenty of rainwater for your needs.
It Doesn’t Cost
Once you build and install a rainwater collection system, rainwater collection costs nothing more. Whether you switch to a complete rainwater supply or use rainwater for specific applications, you should be able to reduce your consumption of public drinking water. This saves your money.
It’s Somewhat Healthy
There is no evidence that clean drinking rainwater is any healthier than drinking regular tap water, but there are some benefits to drinking rainwater. Public tap water contains chlorine and chloramines, but you can treat rainwater to remove contaminants without adding chemicals.
Disadvantages of Harvesting Rain Water
Water Treatment May Be Required
If you want to drink the collected rainwater, you need to treat the water to be safe for consumption. This may involve boiling the water or installing a filtration system to filter the water. Permanent rainwater treatment systems are relatively expensive.
Not Suitable for Some Areas
If you live in an area that receives little rain and has regular droughts, rainwater harvesting is not suitable. Additionally, if your state does not allow rainwater harvesting, this practice is not an option to consider.
Setting up a water collection system can be expensive and time-consuming. You should also perform regular maintenance to ensure your system is clean and working properly throughout its life.
Collecting rainwater seems easy to get drinking water, but it’s not always safe to consume. Environmental pollutants, harmful bacteria, and parasites can contaminate rainwater, and drinking rainwater can make you sick. Boiling, filtering, and chemically treating rainwater can make it safer for human consumption.
However, it is important to have a reliable collection, processing, and testing systems in place before drinking. Rainwater is not more beneficial to health than alternative clean water sources.