Turning Rainwater Into Drinking Water: 3 Ways To Do It (2023)

There’s nothing better for an off-grid homesteader than knowing that they can have all the water they could ever want just by installing a few water tanks to harvest the rain. The only problem is, can rainwater be filtered for drinking?

3 Way To Make Rainwater Drinkable

3 Way To Make Rainwater Drinkable

Rainwater can be filtered for drinking as long as you have a clean catchment surface and you use a proper filter. Water for the whole house can be filtered using a uv filter or quantum filtration system or you can use a gravity filter such as a Berkey Water Filter just for your drinking water.

If you are interested in converting your harvested rainwater into something drinkable, this article will dive deeper into all that you need to know on how to do it. I felt a true sense of freedom when I finally put in filters to make my water drinkable. I have all that I could ever want and no one else can touch it.

Turning Rainwater Into Drinking Water: 3 Ways To Do It (1)

Clean Water Begins With Best Practices

A lot goes into a typical water system to ensure that the water is clean and safe to drink. You are the water company now and that burden lays with you. It is best that you make sure that every part of your system is as clean as possible and constructed with the proper materials.

A filter only goes so far. If the water you are starting off with is green and filled with debris, you are going to have a tough time turning it into drinking water. It’s important to make sure you have a clean catchment surface and some pre filters along the way.

Best Roof Material for Rainwater Collection

Turning Rainwater Into Drinking Water: 3 Ways To Do It (2)

There are many ways to build a roof, with asphalt shingles, terracotta tiles, thatch, but none of those are suited for being used to harvest rainwater. All of them leach either chemicals or natural tannins that make the water almost impossible to filter efficiently.

Pre-painted, corrugated metal roofing is the only roofing found to be clean enough to harvest rainwater for drinking. It offers up the cleanest catchment surface possible, with little to no leaching as long as the roofing is kept in good shape.

Pairing the roofing with a galvanized steel seamless gutter will help you go even further in ensuring pristine water in your catchment tank. Seamless gutters make it possible for the water to travel freely out of the gutters and into the downspouts without any “dams” in between.

Plastic gutters from home depot are OK, but the do use a raised coupling to connect different gutter sections and it is there that debris, algae and pathogens tend to collect. Sure enough after the next rainfall, they’ll all end up in your water tank.

To keep the roof and gutter material in good shape for continual clean water harvesting, it is advisable to pressure wash and clean out the gutters every 6 months. Before washing down the roof, make sure you disconnect the downspouts so all of that debris doesn’t end up in the tank.

Leaf Guards and Prefilters

Turning Rainwater Into Drinking Water: 3 Ways To Do It (3)

Before the rainwater from the roof even gets into your water tank, you should have a couple of pre filters installed. I like to use a leaf guard, with my favorite being this one that you can buy on Amazon, as well as some panty hose or paint strainer. These prefilters serve as an additional measure towards ensuring that only clean, debris free water enters the tank.

A leaf guard is a device that is installed on each downspout of the gutter system. Essentially, it is a slanted screen that diverts large debris out of the downspout but still lets clean water continue through. The leaf guard acts like a course filter.

Right wear the inlet pipe lets out into the water tank, I like to install panty hose over the pipe end. This panty hose catches even finer debris that the leaf guard missed. It is surprisingly good at its job. All I have to do is replace it every month and it is able to do its job.

Best Tank Types To Store Water For Drinking

Almost any water tank will do for harvesting rainwater. All throughout East Hawai’i where rainwater catchment is common practice, most people use a tank with a vinyl liner. These tanks are able to store very clean water, but there is some people worry of leaching from the vinyl.

The best tank to store water for drinking would be a galvanized water tank. Galvanized metal has been tested to be very safe when it comes to the possibility of contamination through leaching. They are rated safe for drinking water storage. However, these tend to be very expensive. There are tradeoffs with anything.

Any water tank is better than no water tank, just make sure that it is fully enclosed or covered in some way. We still have a few filters for the water to run through before it reaches our water glass.

Are you a DIYer interested in learning more about installing your very own rainwater harvesting system? I wrote an article about exactly how to do it. Be sure to give it a read.

3 Different Ways To Filter Rainwater For Drinking

Filtering your rainwater into drinking water has never been easier. There are many systems out there that do a fantastic job for very little price. It was a game changer when we finally got one of our own. No more trips to the county water spigots filling up 5 gallon bottles. Drinking water now flows right out of the tap.

UV Filtration Systems

A UV Filtration System treats unsafe water containing pathogens and bacteria with a germicidal ultraviolet light. The UV wavelength scrambles the DNA of the live organisms, making them unable to reproduce and cause you to be ill.

A UV Filtration system can be used to treat the water of an entire house. It does not filter out coarse debris, prefilters are necessary for that, but it does a great job at killing pathogens.

It utilizes a ballast that acts as the power control center and a specialized UV bulb inside of a housing. The prefiltered water is exposed to the light, killing off any pathogens and then continues on to the home.

The drawbacks of this system is that it does take power to operate, making it a little more challenging for those 100% on solar. It is also necessary to change an expensive light bulb every year.

If you are interested in getting a UV Water Purification System of your own, use this link to go to the UV System that was installed on my sisterʻs home that sheʻs been drinking from for months.

Quantum Filtration

This is what I have on my house and I have to say, I am a fan. After 3 years of using this filter to turn our rainwater into drinking water, I am happy to say no one has gotten sick. We have even had it tested on numerous occasions and it comes out with passing marks every time.

The Pulsar Quantum Water Filter developed by US Water Systems utilizes an advanced technology using a positively charged surface on the filter media that attracts the electrons in the pathogens, which are destroyed when they come in contact with the dynamic Activated Silica ceramic surface. Death on a quantum level.

These filters are very easy to install with some basic plumbing knowledge and require no electricity to operate, making them perfect for the off grid homesteader.

Before these filters came along, I never thought I’d be able to filter my rainwater into drinking water. I’ll tell you, it sure is nice not having to worry about accidentally drinking the water while taking a shower.

If you want to learn more about these Quantum Filters, here is a post I wrote that dives deeper into the Clarify Quantum Disinfection System that I have at home.

Quantum Disinfection vs. UV Disinfection

Instantly Kills 99.99% of bacteria
Adds nothing to the waterAdds nothing to the water
No power needed
No chemicals addedNo chemicals added
Disinfects 24/7/365
Low Maintenance

Passive Gravity Fed Filters

For those of you looking for a simple, plug and play solution that takes no skills what so ever, there is still hope for you. There are several passive gravity fed filters that work much like your home Brita water system that you may already be familiar with.

Just pour the water in the top and let it filter down.

The best name brand in this market is this Berkey Water Filter that you can get on Amazon. Itʻs what I used during my earlier days on the homestead. These filters are able to eliminate 99.99% of any harmful bacteria that may be in the water as well as particulates. They are easy to setup and require no power to operate.

There are some downsides to this system though. You have to regularly fill them with water that needs to get filtered. This can be difficult because they are designed to be paced on the countertop, which can make the top of the unit so high that you would need a stool to reach the top.

It is also hard to know when to refill them due to their height. It is also unclear how often you need to change the filters. For the price, I’d choose to go with the Pulsar Quantum Disinfection and just treat the whole house.

Keeping Water Fresh During Dry Periods

There are times when it doesn’t rain for long periods of time. If water is left sitting for too long without being replaced, it can become stagnant and smelly leading to some foul tasting water. These problems are simple to overcome using one of the 2 methods mentioned below.

Chemical Treatment

One simple option to treat water that has to sit for too long is to add some bleach 1x per month. Bleach keeps the water free from algae, mosquito larvae and other pathogens and just keeps it clear over all.

Since we have filters installed to filter our rainwater to drinking water, adding bleach is considered safe because it is commonly filtered out along with any bacteria during the filtration process.

All it takes is a cup full of bleach for every 2000 gallons of water or so and your water should stay safe through the longest of droughts.


If you are not comfortable with adding chemicals into your drinking water to keep it fresh, you could try using some form of aeration.

Aeration helps oxygenate the water and keep it moving, lessening the stagnant, smelly water that is common when it sits for a longer period of time. It may not help with eliminating mosquito larvae or bacteria from forming. Bleach really is the best for that.

If you are interested in earning more about how to keep water inside tanks clean, I dove deeper into the subject in this post that Iʻm sure youʻll enjoy.

I sure do hope this post helps you come closer to clean drinking water. Itʻs becoming harder and harder to come by, the best way to ensure you have it is by developing the systems you need to get it. Happy water harvesting!!

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How do you convert rainwater to drinking water? ›

Water treatment options include filtration, chemical disinfection, or boiling. Filtration can remove some germs and chemicals. Treating water with chlorine or iodine kills some germs but does not remove chemicals or toxins. Boiling the water will kill germs but will not remove chemicals.

How is rainwater harvested for drinking purpose? ›

Despite sometimes aggressive marketing claims, drinking rainwater has not been shown to be more beneficial than other sources of clean drinking water. It is prudent to never assume that rainwater is safe to drink. Rain can wash different types of contaminants into the water you collect.

How can we save water by rainwater? ›

Harvesting rainwater allows the collection of large amounts of water and mitigates the effects of drought. Most rooftops provide the necessary platform for collecting water. Rainwater is mostly free from harmful chemicals, which makes it suitable for irrigation purposes.

What is the best filter for rainwater? ›

Polypropylene & ceramic cartridge type filters can effectively treat water by removing sediment and bacteria, but will not remove viruses Activated carbon filters are most effective in removing and/or reducing chemicals such as iron and hydrogen sulphide, objectionable tastes, odours and colour, but will not remove ...

How do you make rainwater safe to drink at home? ›

Boiling the water—Boiling water for 15 minutes allows for the killing of disease-causing organisms. Make sure to let the water cool down before drinking it.

What are the 3 methods of water conservation? ›

Water conservation can go a long way to help alleviate these impending shortages.
  • Check your toilet for leaks. ...
  • Stop using your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. ...
  • Put a plastic bottle in your toilet tank. ...
  • Take shorter showers. ...
  • Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors. ...
  • Take baths.

Can you make rainwater drinkable? ›

Before this water can be drunk, it must be purified of these impurities. The best filtration options for making rainwater potable are reverse osmosis and distillation. Mechanical filtration (via a sediment filter or Rusco spin-down system) is also integral to the success of rainwater treatment.

Are there benefits to drinking rainwater? ›

Drinking rainwater can also improve human digestion because of its alkaline pH content. Rainwater has the same pH as distilled water, so it helps to neutralize our blood pH levels and promotes stomach functions. Rainwater is known to be very beneficial for healthy skin and hair.

How do we save water for drinking? ›

Water Conservation Tips
  1. Check your home plumbing for leaks. ...
  2. Install water-saving showerheads and faucet aerators, available at your hardware store, if you don't already have them in place. ...
  3. Sweep, don't wash, sidewalks and driveways. ...
  4. If you need to water your lawn, do it every other day in the early morning hours.

What is the purest form of rainwater? ›

  • The name of the purest form of rainwater is “Palar Pani” in the areas of Rajasthan.
  • Rainwater is considered the purest form of water.
  • Rainwater comes from the condensation of water that occurs in the presence of the sun.
  • The water evaporates from the lakes/rivers/seas.

Which filter is best for drinking water? ›

Reverse osmosis filters are top of the line for removing a large percentage of contaminants out of the water, potentially including dangerous waterborne bacteria. The filters work by pushing water through the reverse osmosis membrane using pressure.

How do you filter and drink rain water? ›

Filtration can be as simple as some form of mesh or strainer fixed across the inlet to your storage system and cleaned regularly. Better still is to use a proprietary filter, preferably a stainless steel one for performance and durability.

How long do you have to boil rainwater to make it drinkable? ›

Collect your water and pour it into your kettle. Switch it on and let it boil for at least 60 seconds to 2 minutes.

Which method is the most affordable natural way of purifying the rainwater? ›

Using membrane filtration

Amongst each other, Reverse Osmosis (RO) is the most widely used membrane technology. They are capable of removing particles as fine as . 001 microns like radium, natural organics, pesticides, cysts, bacteria, and viruses.

What is the healthiest way to make water at home? ›

Filtered Water
  1. Fill a pitcher and refrigerate for about half an hour. ...
  2. Purchase a filtration system that attaches to your tap (and/or refrigerator water dispenser) or a filtered-water pitcher, from companies like Brita or PUR Water.
  3. Install a carbon filter under the sink.
Jul 7, 2009

What is the best way to make water at home? ›

Here are the best ways to filter and purify tap water at home.
  1. Get a Water Filter Pitcher. ...
  2. Attach a Faucet-Mounted Filter. ...
  3. Swap for a Faucet with an Integrated Filter. ...
  4. Install a Separate Faucet for Drinking Water. ...
  5. Switch to a Refrigerator with a Water Filter. ...
  6. Invest in a Whole-House Filter System.
Nov 3, 2022

Can you boil lake water and drink it? ›

Boiling is the best way to make lake water potable, by disease-causing organisms like viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Never drink water from a natural source that you haven't purified, even if the water looks clean.

Why should we conserve water 3 points? ›

Why do we need to Conserve Water? Conserving water helps us by supplying more amount of water for longer usage. It has become necessary in all areas because these natural resources are reducing along with the increasing population and their usages.

Why is collecting rainwater illegal in the US? ›

That said, while Texas allows rain water harvesting in some counties, a few states in the western U.S. have traditionally outlawed rain harvesting altogether. The reasoning is that rainwater eventually makes its way into streams, rivers, and other water sources to which various individuals possess legal claims.

Can dogs drink rain water? ›

As tempting as it may be for your dog, it's important to remember that rainwater is not always safe for your dog to drink. When rainwater hits earth, it comes in contact with several contaminants or chemicals that aren't safe to drink.

Can you shower with rainwater? ›

But experts say that rainwater is completely safe for bathing and showering. Also, bathing in rainwater has some great health advantages. Rainwater is soft by nature, this means there are less minerals dissolved in it than hard water. Your hair loves water that is soft, has a neutral pH and is free from heavy metals.

Is rain water healthier than tap water? ›

Answer: Rainwater tends to be way more pure than tap water, city or well. Rain contains few salts, minerals, treatment chemicals or pharmaceuticals often found in municipal tap water.

Why is rainwater better than regular water? ›

Rainwater does not contain chemicals and salts that can build up potted plants. Rainwater is 100% soft water. Free of the salts, minerals, treatment chemicals, and pharmaceuticals that are found in municipal water, groundwater, and surface water, rainwater is pure hydration.

Why does rain water taste better? ›

Rainwater Does Taste Different

Firstly, rainwater hasn't picked up any salt or minerals from the ground, so it's 'soft'. And secondly, it hasn't been treated by chemicals. Tap water has to be treated with chlorine to kill any nasties before it's pumped into our homes.

What is rainwater harvesting 3? ›

Rainwater harvesting: Rainwater harvesting is the process of collecting and storing rainwater that falls on roofs, parks, roads, and other open areas. This runoff water can be stored or recharged into the groundwater system.

What are the three parts of rain harvesting system? ›

Any rainwater harvesting system has three components: Catchment, Conveyance, and Storage.

What are the four different methods of rainwater harvesting? ›

Catchment- Used to collect and store the captured rainwater. Conveyance system – It is used to transport the harvested water from the catchment to the recharge zone. Flush- It is used to flush out the first spell of rain. Filter – Used for filtering the collected rainwater and removing pollutants.

What are 30 ways to save water? ›

50 Best Ways to Save Water
  • Shower Instead Of Using A Bucket. ...
  • Use A Dishwasher To Wash The Dishes. ...
  • Rainwater Harvesting. ...
  • Avoid Flushing Too Much. ...
  • Stop Using Sprinklers When It Rains Outside. ...
  • Regular Toilet Maintenance. ...
  • Avoid Watering Drylands. ...
  • Avoid Throwing Bottles With Leftover Water.
Dec 28, 2022

What are 100 ways to save water? ›

100 Ways to Save Water
  • When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. ...
  • Evaporative coolers require a seasonal maintenance checkup. ...
  • Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • Run your dishwasher only when it is full and you could save 400 gallons a month.

What are 10 uses of water? ›

The most common water uses include:
  • Drinking and Household Needs.
  • Recreation.
  • Industry and Commerce.
  • Agriculture.
  • Thermoelectricity/Energy.

Why is recycling rainwater good? ›

“Harvesting rainwater is a water resource-saving measure — a way to cut demand for treating, transporting and using high quality drinking water for irrigation, vehicle washing and even street cleaning,” she adds.

Can you drink white rainwater? ›

There is nothing inherently unsafe about or wrong with drinking rainwater, as long as it's clean. In fact, many communities around the world depend on rainwater as their primary source of drinking water.

Is there bottled rainwater? ›

Currently, Richard's Rainwater offers either a still rainwater beverage (available in a 16 oz. aluminum can or a 750ml glass bottle) or a sparkling rainwater drink in a 12 oz. glass bottle, which can be purchased at Central Market, HEB, Kroger, Sprouts, and Whole Foods Market or online from Amazon.

Which is the purest water in the world? ›

While there are a few places that boast extremely clean water, such as Canada, Iceland, Antarctica, or even Upstate New York, the team of scientists determined that the cleanest water in the world was in the Patagonia region of Chile, Puerto Williams.

What is the healthiest water to drink? ›

Mineral, structured, and pure spring water are some of the healthiest water you can drink because they're clean and contain all the essential minerals your body needs. Filtered water removes contaminants but might also remove essential minerals.

Which water filter removes the most toxins? ›

Reverse osmosis systems are some of the best options for your water. The Reverse osmosis system in the 4 stage design is a design that will help you remove the maximum number of contaminants from your water.

What water filter removes bacteria and viruses? ›

Epic Nano | Removes Bacteria / Virus. The first water filter Pitcher designed to remove up to 99.999% of all tap water contaminants including bacteria, giardia, cryptosporidium, and viruses.

How do you make a rain water collector? ›

  1. Step 1: Drill a Hole. Drill a hole a few inches above the bottom of your trash can. ...
  2. Step 2: Attach and Seal the Spigot. ...
  3. Step 3: Make Entry and Exit Holes. ...
  4. Step 4: Screen the Top. ...
  5. Step 5: Place Your Rain Barrel.
Mar 3, 2022

How do you make a homemade water filter? ›

Get a round, cup-shaped coffee filter and turn it upside down so that it fits over a cup like a lid. Wrap a rubber band around the coffee filter to keep it in place. Slowly pour the cloudy water over the coffee filter. Boil the water afterwards to make it drinkable.

Can you distill rain water to drink? ›

Method 1: Convert Rainwater to Drinking Water.

Put a large, clean container outside to catch the rainwater. Leave the container outside for 2 full days to allow the minerals to dissipate. Store the distilled water in clean jugs. Before drinking, it always safer to filter, boil or chemically treat rainwater.

Can you drink water straight from a rainwater tank? ›

Generally yes. A properly maintained rainwater tank can provide good quality drinking water. Providing the rainwater is clear, has little taste or smell and is from a well maintained water catchment system it is probably safe and unlikely to cause any illness for most users.

Does rainwater need to be boiled before drinking? ›

Environmental pollutants, harmful bacteria, and parasites can contaminate rainwater, and drinking it can make you sick. Boiling, filtering, and chemically treating rainwater can help make it safer for human consumption.

Can you drink water from a river? ›

Never drink water from a natural source that you haven't purified, even if the water looks clean. Water in a stream, river or lake may look clean, but it can still be filled with bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can result in waterborne diseases, such as cryptosporidiosis or giardiasis.

Which method produces pure water? ›

Distillation. Distilled water is produced by a process of distillation. Distillation involves boiling the water and then condensing the vapor into a clean container, leaving solid contaminants behind. Distillation produces very pure water.

Which water is the cleanest? ›

Rainwater is sourced from the clouds and never touches the ground. This makes this type of water the purest water available on the planet. If you are looking for the healthiest water to quench your thirst, this needs to be your first option.

Does rain water good for plants? ›

It's like a light application of fertilizer every time you water. Rain contains nitrates—an important macro-nutrient. Rainwater contains nitrate – the most bio-available form of nitrogen. Nitrogen is one of the three key macro-nutrients that plants need to thrive – necessary for the development of lush foliage.

Is boiled tank water safe to drink? ›

Boiling is only recommended for biologically contaminated water since non-living contaminants, such as silts, sediments and chemicals (i.e., herbicides, pesticides, and even heavy metals) are not destroyed by boiling.

How long does water stay drinkable in a tank? ›

Replace stored water every six months. Keep stored water in a place with a cool temperature (50–70°F). Do not store water containers in direct sunlight. Do not store water containers in areas where toxic substances, such as gasoline or pesticides, are present.

How long does rainwater last in a tank? ›

If water that started out clean has been stored for some time in a cool, dark, and dry area, not directly on concrete, and away from harmful chemicals and harsh fumes, it technically can be stored indefinitely. However, this stored water should be rotated from time to time for peace of mind. Myth 2.

Should I wash my hair after rain? ›

Wash Hair Immediately

If, in the inevitable scenario that, you were caught in the middle of the rain and you wet your hair from the rain, make sure you dry it immediately. But before you do, wash it with shampoo. Do not let your hair that has been wet by the rain to dry on its own without washing.

What are the benefits of rain to humans? ›

Human life depends on rain. Rain is the source of freshwater for many cultures where rivers, lakes, or aquifers are not easily accessible. Rain makes modern life possible by providing water for agriculture, industry, hygiene, and electrical energy.


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