Harvesting Rainwater for a Potable Water Supply

You can design a rainwater collection system such as this one by harvesting rainwater to provide water for your home and garden.

  • Harvesting water for a potable water supply.
    This rainwater collection system provides all the water the Minga family needs.
    Photo By Mike Minga
  • Water storage in a rainwater collection system.
    You can store rainwater in tanks such as these for a home potable water supply.
    Photo By Mike Minga

  • Harvesting water for a potable water supply.
  • Water storage in a rainwater collection system.

The well water on the property we recently bought was undrinkable (too much iron). Without good prospects for a new well (installers could not guarantee the water quality), we decided to install a rainwater-collection system for our potable water supply.

We installed gutters along the entire house and tied them all to a 6-inch plastic pipe. We fitted the gutters with microscreen filters. From the gutters, the water goes to a first-flush diverter and then on to the 1,100-gallon catch tank. The tank acts as a settling tank between rains. From that tank, we pipe the water to our utility room, where three more 1,000-gallon tanks are tied together. We pull water from them with a pump that sends the water through three 0.5-micron filters and then through two 0.2-micron filters. Then the water passes through a UV sterilizer and over to our 1,100-gallon treated-water storage tank. We pull from this fresh-water tank with another pump to supply pressurized water to the house.

Every three weeks, I refill the freshwater tank and treat it with chlorine. We have been harvesting rainwater using this system for a year, and we love it.

Mike Minga
Lumberton, North Carolina

6/9/2013 6:15:08 AM

Sure hope the vehicle that goes into the garage does not take out the low hanging pipe!

I'd be interested in a follow up as to how well the micro screens held up. It would seem to me that in an area with heavy solutes (pollen, carbon from diesel) that the screens might clog or during a heavy storm that the water would sheet right over the micro screens.

You will find first flush diverters, downspout filter boxes and many more great rain water harvesting products at Aquabarrel . com

6/7/2013 11:32:56 AM

I think this is a great system and I might/would be interested in attempting a similar one on my property. I wonder what kind of roof the house has because I was told that you shouldn't use water harvesting from a shingle roof. The cost of a metal roof is prohibitive to this project for me so I've been stalled. Would love to know if the no-shingle rule is true.

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