By Sun Kim
Posting in Cities
Rainwater is in its purest form before it hits the ground, but it is usually collected for non potable uses only. What if that huge, free source of naturally distilled water could be used for drinking and cooking?
Rainwater is in its purest form before it hits the ground, but it is usually collected for non potable uses only. What if that huge, free source of naturally distilled water could be used for drinking and cooking? A simple rain collection module named RainSaucers makes potable rainwater possible.
The RainSaucer, developed by Tom Spargo, decreases the chances of rainwater contamination by decreasing the instances of contact with building surfaces (roof, gutters, downspouts.) Resembling an upside down umbrella, the RainSaucer is made of five components: a food grade polypropylene 'saucer', pipe fitting, mesh filter, fasteners, and a retention ring for wind resistance. The surface of the Saucer harvests 6.75 gallons per inch of rain and can work with any container. By controlling the materials that rain does touch and with the help of a filter, the minimal design provides a straightforward and affordable way to use rain as a clean source of water.
Tom Spargo offered his own thoughts on his design and its implications for issues of water quality and access:
"I came at RWH (rainwater harvesting) from the perspective of trying it make it more scalable. I simply pondered why it is that this great concept isn't more widespread and decided it was too much of a 'project' and not enough of a 'product.' RainSaucers aims to make RWH a product you can buy in local markets, just like you can buy solar ovens, solar lights, kick pumps, etc. We chose Polypropylene because it is low cost, food grade, FDA approved, and BPA free. This makes sure the water collected is as close to pure natural distilled water as possible. Portability and easy packing were important. So we designed RainSaucers to be able to roll up and unroll for transport or shipping by air. We also made sure no tools were necessary to install; simplicity equates to scalability in our view."
Even more significant than the possible applications in the US is the potential for use in developing countries, where the quality of even city water systems is not trusted. RainSaucers just completed a field trial in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. The company wanted to help families save money by reducing their dependence on bottled water. The region is served by municipal water but the citizens would rather buy bottled, citing suspicion of bacteria in the water system. The average expenditure in Quetzaltenango on bottled water is $300, or about one month's income, every year. Imagine spending one month’s income on water per year.
Next in sight for RainSaucers is India. Although 18 of India’s 28 states have made rainwater harvesting mandatory, less than half of those required households have complied.
Watch the video of RainSaucers' Guatemala trial below:
Aug 25, 2011
Hi, I am interested in buying a unit for my house and would it be possible to send an item to India. If possible, please let me know where do I need to order. Regards Balamurugan
I am very enjoyed for this blog. It???s an informative topic. It help me very much to solve some problems. Its opportunity is so fantastic and working style so speedy. I think it may be help all of you. Thanks a lot for enjoying this beauty blog with me. I am appreciating it very much! It looking forward to another great blog. Good luck to the author! All the best!Rainwater Harvesting.
1. The few Laws in the West against rainwater collection are being repealed: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/29/us/29rain.html Meanwhile we have cities subsidizing the practice to reduce storm runoff: http://www.rainsaucers.com/blog/2010/06/28/cities-which-subsidize-rwh 2. If you are worried about polluted rainwater, by all means please do not drink it! And while you're at it, please don't breathe air either because it will contain the same stuff. But seriously, rainwater is good natural stuff that is often better quality than what comes out of the tap, well, or river in developing countries. 3. In the U.S., we suggest you treat rainwater for drinking the same way you would treat any private source of water. Do your own testing and add filtration if you think you need it. The oldest and cheapest method of filtration is called first flush where you let the first liter of rain get flushed based on the assumption most atmospheric contaminants come down in the first few minutes of rain. We implemented first flush with our 2 RainSaucer system http://www.rainsaucers.com/photos.htm (picture #8)
Remember the volcanos in Iceland that erupted and basically grounded Europe? If you were downwind any rainwater was most likely acidic and full of fine particles. At any particular time there are numerous spores of fungi, algae, and other microscopic organisms. That's why rainwater is often considered non-potable. This is not insurmountable. A piece of clean limestone can do wonders to neutralize the acid, and there are numerous ways to get rid of bacteria, etc., in the water. The latter usually involve higher tech than a rock, but the tech doesn't have to be that high. Don't get me wrong. I think it's a good idea. It's usually cleaner than well-water too close to the latrines. My point is that it's not a no-brainer. There are potential problems that need to be planned for.
Harvesting Rainwater is a great idea. My dad's house has a large cistern and flanges and gutters to feed rainwater into it. They have used this idea in west Texas for years, along with wind power. It's a great idea. Don't collect rain water? Why not?
Very Innovative Rainwater collection module ' RainSaucers'.Congratulations for the designer. It will be a boon in developing countries. Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cisterns have been in use for thousands of years. My relatives in St Thomas must use them as does everyone else on the island, there are no running streams and the groundwater is saline. They collect the rainfall off the roof and store it in cisterns of thousands of gallons. A little bleach for chlorination and voila: a free supply of potable drinking water. Sewage goes to treatment.
...you'd better check with your city as there are now ordnances against collecting rain water! Or, planting a garden in your yard! Certain cities are turning into little Russia/China models. Check out this story: http://www.naturalnews.com/029286_rainwater_collection_water.html or this: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/water/4314447 really mind blowing...
this "new" method have been used for years... as for rain water purity, well it might have been pure in early 1900 but nowadays I don't think it still true. many tests have shown that rain water might contain chemicals compounds, acids and other impurities that have been thrown in the air by different manufacturing plants, air plains and even natural phenomena like volcano's , and all of this gets picked up by rain and carried down to earth.. that is why in many countries around the world rain water is approved for non-potable use only , as in watering lawns, washing cars/driveways etc. without extensive filtering and boiling rain water might not be acceptable for consumption. of course if you live in the part of the world where rain is the only accessible source of drinking water most of the time, you have no choice...
What is wrong with collecting rain in buckets, or using a sheet of polythene stretched out with a frame?
Nothing, people have been doing that for centuries...problem is that now you can get fined or worse if you happen to live in city that has laws against collecting rain water!
I am told you can be jailed in Colorado for collecting rain water for any use. Rain water is "owned" by the government through a water rights law.
Sensors on highway off ramps measure your cars emissions and can trigger a ticket camera to snap a picture if you fail. My rental car got a ticket during my last trip to Denver.