12 Rainwater Collection Tips

rainwater collection tips

Why is it important to learn rainwater collection methods?

Living in such a modern world nowadays, most people don't worry about much at all. They can mostly get what they need at home with just a push of a button or a flip of a switch. Even going camping outdoors is more like “glamping” these days, with food, water and even internet easily accessible.

But what if you run out of water, either at home or while spending time outdoors? What if there's no way to get water elsewhere? Even if you were able to collect water, how would you make it safe to drink?

The following rainwater collection tips are for those who may find themselves in dry spell conditions, or even those who might like to save some money on their water bill.

Rainwater Collection Tips for Preppers

1. Check State Laws Before Collecting Rainwater

Are rainwater collection systems legal in your area?

state laws rainwater collection

A water permit is required for some states in the US, while others don’t allow you to collect any rainwater at all. Better safe than sorry.

2. Collecting Rainwater At Home Using Food Grade Rain Barrels

Place the barrels beneath your downspouts.

rainwater barrels

You can use cheesecloth, a coffee filter or a screen trap will help filter the water from sediments.

3. Make Your Own Rain Barrel

This tip will help you go through the dos and Don’ts of making your own rain barrel.

3. DIY Rainwater Collection System

This tip will help you collect rainwater mostly using materials that can already be found lying around your house.

five gallon bucket

It may take a few hours of your time every day, but it will surely put your power tools to good use. Plus, you don’t spend much by paying someone else to do it for you.

4. Make An Emergency Water Filter

Using an ordinary bucket, you can fill it with different layers of certain materials that probably won’t cost you a cent. Just don’t forget to place a hole at the bottom.

5. Build An UltraModern Rainwater Harvesting System

Collecting and transporting a rainwater barrel outside your home can be tiring and time-consuming. Installing a system with a more complex design may help. Some systems have an overflow pipe that releases excess rainwater to a designated location in your property.

6. Install A Greywater System

If rain is scarce in your area and you’re just trying to save on your water bill, you might want to consider installing this system.

You can recycle water from dishwashers, sinks, showers, and washing machines for use other than drinking.

7. Make A Belowground Still

This would increase your chances of survival for outdoor enthusiasts. This is a very basic way of collecting water if there isn’t any fresh water source for miles.

8. Make A Solar Still

This is another ingenious way to collect drinking water in the wilderness. Just choose an inclined surface then dig a trench. With a stick, plastic bag and a few rocks you’ll quench your thirst in no time.

9. Plant Condensation

If there are a lot of plants nearby you can collect water through the process of condensation. You will need a plastic bag and a 550 cord or anything similar to that material.

plant condensation

Wrap the plastic bag around the end of the plant or a branch of a small tree then wait for the water to condense at the bottom of the bag.

10. Use Rags To Collect Dew

Dew is most heavy right before sunrise or shortly after that.

wringing out rag

By tying rags on your ankles and walking through grass covered with dew you can wring the now wet rags into a container. It may not be enough but it will get you through a couple of more hours.

11. Purify Water Taken From Unreliable Water Sources

Purification tablets or 2% tincture iodine can come in handy when you need to purify water to make it safe for drinking.

water purification tablets

Make sure you purify water taken from swamps, lakes, streams, springs and ponds.

12. Use Tiny Zinc Oxide Wires Made In The Form Of  Spiny Cactus

These cacti spike inspired design was able to collect water from the air five times more efficiently than its original counterpart. This will work wonders for those that run out of water in the desert. If caught unprepared, collecting water from miniature cactus spines can suffice.


Just surf the web and you can find a lot more tips in collecting water from a variety of sources. Regardless of your location or type of environment you are in, knowing how to collect water in different ways is crucial for everyday living and survival.

12 Rainwater Collection Tips

Want to learn more? Check out these 25 water conservation tips from our friends at Pioneer Settler.

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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 23, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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12 Rainwater Collection Tips

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