There are lots of great strategies for rain water catchment. Depending on where you are, the rainfall you get may or may not be sufficient to meet your needs.
For example, in Taos, they have to build enormous water catchment and storage systems. This is because they receive only a few inches of rain a year which they have to store all year to meet their needs.
In contrast, in Tennessee, a small shed with a rain gutter and an IBC tote is more than enough to meet the needs of farming communities.
These systems can be very simple. Basically any container will work to store the rain water for later use. Here we see a simple steel tub under a pair of rain gutters…
For long term storage, it’s important to avoid sunlight in order to prevent algae growth. In contrast sunlight can actually help prevent bacteria growth particularly in the short-term. This is why they bury their water storage tanks at the Earthships in Taos.
The CDC also recommends adding bleach to the water in order to prevent the growth of both bacteria and algae. As a burner who works on water infrastructure for large groups, I can not recommend this strongly enough. A little bleach goes a long way to prevent the spread of countless diseases that thrive in your water storage containers.
Filtration For Drinking
Filtering water for drinking is also easy. Check out my writeup about the Earthships at Taos for all the details about their systems for solving this problem. Some of the people at The Garden recommend using simple ceramic water filters if you’re doing catchment in a high-rain area like Tennessee or Costa Rica. I have also used simple personal filters with cheap pumps to solve this problem in my own experience.