From ancient times people recognized the only source of safe water to be from rain or from deep wells. As many as 4,000 years ago there were systems in ancient Palestine and Greece for collecting rain. Even the Romans, with their system of aqueducts, supplemented their water supply with individual cisterns and paved courtyards to collect rain water.
In fact, rain water represents one huge distillation process. Water evaporates from surface water, then condenses and rains as distilled water! Why then don’t we use rain water for drinking water more frequently?
Is Drinking Rain Water the Best Drinking Water for Americans?
I could make a case for the great quality of rain water for drinking if collected properly, and I could make a case for the dangers of drinking rain water. You can catch this anomaly in the following two statements by scientists:
“There is no essential reason why you can’t drink rain water. I think the concern about drinking rain water has to do with the fact that in our non-pristine environment the raindrops may have picked up some contaminant on the way down from the clouds.”
“Normally you could drink rainwater without becoming ill. However, rainwater contains pollutants, soil, plant parts, insect parts, bacteria, algae, and sometimes radioactive materials the rain/snow has washed out of the air.”
Most experts say that you should be careful about the way you collect the rainwater so it picks up the least amount of pollutants as possible. Then you should boil it or disinfect it with chlorine. Then you should filter it. Now, if you have to do all that to make it drinkable, why use rain water for drinking in the first place? You’re much better off taking your tap water and filtering it directly.
Is Drinking Rain Water the Best Drinking Water for Some Areas of the World
There are millions of people in the developing world who would do well to drink rain water rather than water from their streams and lakes which are polluted with tropical parasites. A little care in collecting rainwater in ways to minimize environmental pollution, would give them a healthy supply of drinking water. They don’t have a source of treated water, and they don’t have the financial means for boiling their water regularly. So, because of the alternatives, rainwater becomes a wonderful source for drinking water.
There’s a growing movement in the world of what is called “rainwater harvesting”. Just do a Goggle search on this term and you’ll find a wealth of information. Essentially it is done in dry climates, like in Texas, or in developing countries without running water.
In India, Bunker Roy founded “The Barefoot College”. He and his rural Indian graduates have focused on rainwater harvesting in 470 schools and community centers and then piped this water to places more accessible to people. At present it supplies 15,000 people in 13 villages. They do water analysis and assure the drinking quality of the water.
A Better Option than Drinking Rain Water for Most Americans
In short, the possibilities of harvesting and using rainwater in the world are almost limitless. It’s an initiative to be encouraged. But to think of drinking rain water as a source of drinking water in developed countries is not practical. We have much better options for drinking water both from the standpoint of safety and cost. Filtering your tap water will usually give the best drinking water for most Americans. It improves the purity of tap water and can be done at a reasonable cost. Bottled water is costly, and not really an improvement over tap water when it comes to quality.
This, however, introduces some complexities into the picture. There are a number of different kinds of drinking water filters and there are literally hundreds of models of filters. However, that is beyond the scope of this article. More info: https://www.optimizedlife.com/advantage-and-disadvantage-of-drinking-water/