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How To Make Rain Water Drinkable?

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“Water, water everywhere, not a drop to drink…” The poet’s lines resonate with today’s global crisis, where every natural resource is depleting to scarcity. “As pristine as nature” has now seemed transformed to as “rare as pristine nature”. With pollutants, contaminants pervading every natural resource; how to make rain water drinkable?


Keeping in mind the explosive population growth in developing countries and fast exhausting natural resources, the governments and environment agencies have even proposed rainwater harvesting methods.

The American rainwater catchment systems have certified rainwater to be the purest form of drinking water. How to get rid of the impurities present in rainwater and make it drinkable?

Method 1 of making rainwater drinkable : Rain barrels
Storage:

•    Place your rain barrels in an area, which is open to the sky.

•    Place a net or mesh on top of your rain barrel so that it traps leaves, macro dust particles etc.

•    The rain water collected needs to be filtered.
Filtering:

Filtering the water can be carried out in two ways :

1.    Chemical purification : Chemicals like chlorine, iodine and other oxidizers can be used to purify the rainwater.

1.1     Chlorine through most commonly used is not very effective as it  leaves behind a chemical residue, a distinct odor, apart from adding an odd taste to the water.

1.2     Iodine is comparatively more effective than chlorine and can be added to rainwater to make it drinkable; though it disintegrates when exposed to sunlight and is not advisable for people with thyroid problems. Iodine also infuses distinct chemical taste, which can be offset by the addition of Vitamin C or ascorbic acid.

1.3    Oxidizers : The most effective and the fastest way to purify water by chemical purification is through oxidizers, which can efficiently be done on a large scale and, is also a technique adopted by many municipalities to make water drinkable.

2.    Sand filters : Much as it sounds paradoxical to use sand particles, as our mission is to get rid of such particles, a further explanation will add more clarity to the picture. For using sand filters your rainwater barrel has layers of sand somewhere mid way. The sand is active with microbes, which are very effective in purifying the water. The water seeps through layers of sand getting filtered out of microorganisms from each layer. The water above the sand is not potable and has to be discarded from time to time, but what is collected at the bottom of the sand-layers is.  Sand filters are one way out on how to make rainwater drinkable.

 Method 2 of making rainwater drinkable  : UV purification

The non-chemical, fool-proof method of making rainwater drinkable is through UV purification. This method ensures the extermination of all microorganisms from fungi, protozoa, bacteria and even viruses.

The working of the UV water purifier will vary with the make and brand in use. Though the task of making rainwater drinkable goes through a scrupulously processing in UV purification it is the most effective and can  be applied to the outlet of the rainwater harvesting system, water –wells, etc.

Here, the hassle of using chemicals and their unwanted residues is completely wiped out, with least worry about change in taste or color (while using chemicals). UV purifiers make rainwater drinkable the “ultra-pure” way.


So the next time there is down pour and you have a catchment ready, our tips on how to make rainwater drinkable will simply make you sing to the lash of the rain “Water here in store, pure drops to drink, through the pour!”


Photo courtesy :chestofbooks.com

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