Gauteng and NW Province

Rainwater Harvesting Wiki – Drinking Rainwater

As rainwater may be contaminated, it is often not considered suitable for drinking without treatment. However, there are many examples of rainwater being used for all purposes — including drinking — following suitable treatment.
Rainwater harvested from roofs can contain animal and bird faeces, mosses and lichens, windblown dust, particulates from urban pollution, pesticides, and inorganic ions from the sea (Ca, Mg, Na, K, Cl, SO4), and dissolved gases (CO2, NOx, SOx). High levels of pesticide have been found in rainwater in Europe with the highest concentrations occurring in the first rain immediately after a dry spell; the concentration of these and other contaminants are reduced significantly by diverting the initial flow of water to waste as described above. The water may need to be analysed properly, and used in a way appropriate to its safety. In the Gansu province for example, harvested rainwater is boiled in parabolic solar cookers before being used for drinking. In Brazil alum and chlorine is added to disinfect water before consumption. So-called “appropriate technology” methods, such as solar water disinfection, provide low-cost disinfection options for treatment of stored rainwater for drinking.

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