So Florida is the land of sunshine but, unfortunately, many droughts as well. Currently, we are under a severe drought with only slight chances of rain on the horizon. You can check your area at the drought monitor from the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, NE.
We have a well with wonderful water but as careful stewards of the earth’s bounty, we recycle the rain that does fall with carefully managed rain gutters and barrels. This rain water is used to water our animals and gardens.
Have you noticed a difference between watering your garden with a hose and the soaking from a good rain? Same amount of water but when it is rain water, the garden really seems to flourish. According to Meterologist David R. Cook,
“Rain water normally is more nutritious than ground water. Rainwater contains nitrogen-bearing molecules, partially a result of air pollutants scavenged from the air by raindrops, but more often a result of nitrogen oxides produced by lightning. Nitrogen is an important natural fertilizer for the soil. Therefore, rain from thunderstorms tends to be the most nutritious rain. Soil tends to strip nitrogen and other “chemicals” from rainwater as it percolates through the soil. Thus, the water that accumulates in the ground as groundwater can vary from being somewhat to mostly depleted of nutrition.”
Interesting. It may be that rain water, though possibly contaminated from the pollution in our air, may have more punch! I am not recommending you drink or bathe in it without treating it, though, in emergency conditions it could be very valuable. There are so many possible contaminants, not just pollution but bird droppings and things that can grow on a roof, like algae, moss etc.
When I lived in the mountains of Puerto Rico, we had a cistern that was built into the mountain. We treated it with chlorine and found it to be very soft and clean. I did purchase drinking water but had no problem using the cistern water for showers. I had wonderful white sheets washed in that treated rain water. Later, when living on a small hobby farm in Pennsylvania, we invested in a cement box meant to be used as a septic tank and buried it level to the ground to use as a cistern for watering animals.
You need to either have your barrels covered (preferably) or a bit of oil. The barrels of water for the animals is treated with olive oil and if the animals get some, all the better. If it is not covered, contamination and breeding of mosquitoes is likely. Barrels can be set up in a chain of two or more to catch even more water. Our barrels are up on stilts to make use of gravity. Of course, I don’t have to say that the barrels must be food grade and not used for chemicals if purchased used.
DO YOU COLLECT THE RAIN?
SOME AREAS HAVE PUT RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF RAIN BARRELS. WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT WOULD BE?