In an emergency situation where there is not sufficient water for survival, one of the methods for acquiring it is through rainwater recycling. Rainwater is perfect for drinking as is, so if you harvest it in clean containers using clean materials, you can obtain a large supply of rainwater in just one short downpour. Of course if you are in an area where there is no rainfall, this technique will not work for you. However, if there the possibility for even a short shower, if you are reasonable prepared, you could very possibly harvest enough water to last for days or weeks.
There are many techniques for harvesting rainwater, but most techniques which can be used to capture a large volume of water with one rainfall consist of three basic elements; the collection system, the conveyance system, and the storage unit.
If you are in an emergency water situation in your own home or near dwellings, one of the basic methods for rainwater recycling is by roof top collection. This method even dates back to early Roman times where excavations have shown that many households and even cities, had roof rainwater collection systems being utilized to supply them with a good portion, if not all of their water supply.
Many homes today have gutter systems attached to the roof. If this is the case, rainwater recycling is simple; just arrange to have some clean storage vessels to catch the water from the downspout when a rain shower occurs. If there are no gutters, try to come up with a way to make some. If you have some plastic sheeting available, try to attach them to an area on the edge of the roof in a way the water will be caught is the plastic and runoff at some given points.
If you are in an area that has no roof topped dwelling, but you do have plastic tarps or plastic sheeting of some kind, arrange them in a way one end is taller than the other so when it rains the water will run down to the lower end. If the plastic sheeting you have is large enough, try to reduce the size of the lower end so the water will funnel into what ever you have for storage. Also the edges of the two sides need to be raised so you will not lose any of your water there.
If you don't have plastic tarps, look for anything with a large surface area and try to come up with a way to utilize it. Simple put, just find a way to secure it where one end is higher than the other and use containers to catch the runoff water on the lower end. If it is a serious emergency and you need all the water you can acquire, it is probably best to keep a close eye on your makeshift rainwater collector and make any adjustments that need to be made for it to be as effective as possible. If your storage containers get full, quickly replace them with others. You never know when it may rain again and give you the opportunity to replenish your supply.
If you are in an area or situation where there are no dwellings and you have no supplies to use for a collection system, you may have to use whatever methods you can come up with. Look around at your available resources for rainwater recycling. If worse comes to worse, dig a large hole in the ground and try to put something in the bottom where the water will not be absorbed by the earth so quickly. If there is a sloped area, dig holes to catch the runoff and be prepared to put the water in whatever containers you may have before it soaks into the soil.
Most of the time in an emergency situation you have to do the best you can with what you have to work with. One thing that is very important is planning. If your water supply is low or non existent, do not wait until it starts raining and then frantically run around trying to find ways to catch the water. Either already have some sort of collection system ready or know exactly what you are going to do if and when rainfall occurs.
If you are fortunate enough to be near a roof topped dwelling or have supplies to build some sort of makeshift rain collection system, then the only thing you need to remember is sanitation. Rainwater is pure, but if your collection system or storage units such as plastic containers are dirty, the water will become contaminated. If this happens, use one of the emergency water purification techniques explained in other articles on this site. Rainwater recycling is only one way of acquiring water, in an emergency so read and learn about them.
If you are reading this article and not already in an emergency water situation, it is time to protect yourself and your family by preparing for one. An emergency can happen anytime and anyplace. To be prepared in may be a wise idea to keep an emergency water filter on hand at all times. Being prepared can save your life and the lives of the ones you love.