101 Uses for Rainwater No-one Ever Explained

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101 Uses for Rainwater No-one Ever Explained

We humans are sure a curious lot, using and changing Mother Nature’s perfection to suit our needs. I believe that the Rainwater cycle is the only thing on earth that is nearly perfect. Rain falls to the earth crisp and clean as a result of it lingering in the clouds, energized and purified by the sun’s ultraviolet rays and lightning’s Ozone. Until it leaves the clouds, the water is pure distilled water. It has nothing in it and it needs nothing to make it the best water on the planet.

Rain is the lifeblood of humanity. Without Rainwater the earth would be void of plants, animals and human life. For millennia, rain has fallen to the earth, pooled into puddles, ponds and lakes with the pure water eventually trickling down to replenish the aquifer, nature’s storage tanks. Excess water was channeled into rivers and eventually into the sea where the process started all over again. There was ample water for plants and animals.

Along comes man who masters agriculture by digging canals to divert the water or to drain the wetlands. We step in a puddle caused by Rainwater and our first instinct is to cut a channel to hasten its flow from the puddle to the nearest storm water drain so that we don’t get our feet wet. Generations of this thinking have resulted in our constructing buildings, replacing the soil with concrete, pavement and impermeable surfaces, all in the name of progress. This re-routes the Rainwater away from the natural percolation into the soil and we now have problems dealing with the excess storm water. Storm water is simply Rainwater that is unmanaged at the source.

Well we have come a long way baby! Rainwater is now shunned. This perfect Rainwater falling from the sky is ignored in deference to the convenience of letting it first hit the ground, seep through the dirt, worms, decayed matter, man-made pollution and eventually 30% or less finally makes it to the aquifer. We draw this water out of the ground, treat it excessively to make it somewhat pure again, infuse it with chlorine or other harsh chemicals and pretend it is as good as Rainwater. We even bottle it in plastic bottles so that we have convenient hydration further draining the aquifer and filling the landfills with plastic.

Our agrarian ancestors used Rainwater for everything. We, in our current wisdom, avoid and discard it creating other problems. Pardon my stealing someone else’s line but I say we need to go “Back to the Future.” We need to go back to our past practices to assure that there is a future for our children’s children. Potable water has become a precious commodity. Water scarcity is now a worldwide crisis.

Education and action can help reverse this trend. So, I have penned a list of 101 possible uses of Rainwater to avoid using water from our dwindling aquifers and reservoirs. The list is meant to be both serious and humorous and surely does not profess to be all inclusive. Uses of Rainwater are only limited by your imagination.

First we need some explanation. You can use Rainwater for just about anything requiring water. You should not, however, use it for drinking, bathing, showering, kitchen or bathroom sink or any other purposes where it can be ingested unless you process it to make it potable. There are numerous guides on how to capture and use Rainwater. Search the internet and you can be educated beyond your expectations. You don’t need to treat Rainwater for most nonpotable purposes. Treatment may consist of varying combinations of Filtration, Ozonation, Ultra-violet and magnetics to make it drinkable. Some states might have laws that prohibit collection of Rainwater, so be sure to check with your state’s water resource agency before implementing a Rainwater collection system.

With the worldwide water supply decreasing year by year, collecting natural rain water is an outstanding way to be kind to Mother Earth and be environmentally responsible. You also get to experience better tasting water, a decreased water bill and you lessen your carbon footprint!

There are basically three areas where Rainwater can be used:

  • Irrigation use
  • Indoor, non-potable use
  • Whole house, potable use

Use buckets, 55 gallon rain barrels or build a cistern to store the Rainwater you capture. A simple transfer pump can convert a rain barrel or cistern into water from a hose for any non-potable purpose. Install a pump or use gravity to feed hoses. Another option is to just hand water. For gravity-fed irrigation: Every 2 1/2 feet of elevation of the water source above the water outlet will create one pound of pressure. Attach a soaker hose (which bleeds out water all along its length, providing effortless drip irrigation), and a filter or screen at its top to prevent a buildup of leaves and other debris.

So here we go! Use Whatever and catch Rainwater.

101 Rainwater Uses and Reasons for Rainwater Use No-one Ever Explained to You

Altruistic and Obvious Reasons to use free Rainwater

  • Save the aquifer.
  • Reduce stress on storm water management.
  • Manage drought, capture rainfall in the wet season and use it during the dry season.
  • Capture Rainwater to recharge the groundwater instead of discarding it as storm water.
  • Divert and retain runoff from your property thereby reducing the erosion, flooding and pollution runoff associated with heavy rainfall flowing to the sea.
  • Lessen your reliance on public water supplies.
  • Alleviate some of the burden on utilities by reducing demand.
  • Reduce the use of municipally treated water in your home to lower your water bill.
  • Reduce the impact on local storm water infrastructure and combined sewer systems.
  • Stored Rainwater can be used for plant and landscape irrigation even during watering bans. This helps replenish groundwater supplies with water that would normally flow to storm water systems. Reduce well pump energy use and reducing the amount of water the well has to deliver
  • Reroute rooftop drainage pipes to drain Rainwater to rain barrels, cisterns, or permeable areas instead of the storm sewer.

Healthy Uses for Rainwater

  • Drink Rainwater instead of bottled water or tap water. Bottled rainwater is available.
  • Drink Rainwater instead of Soft Drinks. It is better for your health.
  • Make Rainwater Ice Cubes. No sediment precipitates when the ice melts.
  • Wash your face then rinse in Rainwater ice water to firm up the skin.
  • Use Rainwater for Juicing. It will not affect the taste.
  • Take a Bubble Bath in naturally soft Rainwater. The suds will be awesome.
  • Drink harvested Rainwater to avoid the chlorine and fluoride treatments in tap water.
  • Violeta Cozianu’s Grandma washed her hair with Rainwater. She was convinced that this kept it supple and shiny.
  • Pour cold Rainwater on your head to cool you down on a hot sweaty afternoon.

Rainwater Used as an Alternative Water Supply

  • Again, Use Rainwater anywhere clean, soft water is needed.
  • Fill your Swimming Pool and Spa with Rainwater. Mine are!
  • Wash and Rinse your car with Rainwater. It won’t streak!
  • Replace the use of tap water with Rainwater to wash your driveways and sidewalks.
  • Wash off your windows with Rainwater instead of Tap Water. They won’t streak.
  • Stored Rainwater can be used for firefighting.
  • Washing pets in Rainwater will not irritate their skin and will leave their fur soft.
  • Use Rainwater for drinking water for dogs, cats and other pets.
  • Rainwater can be used for steam irons instead of distilled water.
  • Mix Rainwater with anti-freeze in your radiator to dilute the solution.
  • Fill your fish ponds and fountains with Rainwater. Chlorinated water will kill the fish.
  • Use Rainwater for toilet flushing either plumbed or using buckets of Rainwater. Flushing a toilet can use up to 3 Gallons per flush.
  • Plumb Rainwater for your Washing Machines. Slightly acidic Rainwater neutralizes traditionally alkaline detergents and the Rainwater is naturally soft so you use less detergent. Washing machines can use up to 40 gallons of water per load and most households do 5-6 loads of washing per week.
  • Wash parking lots with Rainwater.
  • Wet clay tennis courts and baseball diamonds with Rainwater.
  • Use old swimming pools filled with Rainwater for a water garden or Koi.
  • Water your lawn and landscaping. When it rains, your green spaces get all the water they need. But during the dry season, you can use the stored-up Rainwater to quench your thirsty lawn, shrubs, bushes, and flower beds.
  • Water your plants. Imagine having a ready source of water for all of your outdoor and indoor potted plants all year long!
  • Fill your birdbath. During the summer, birds need to bathe even when it doesn’t rain.
  • Mop your floors. It’s just as easy to fill your bucket with water from your rain barrel as it is from your kitchen or bathroom faucet.
  • After working in the yard, rinse off muddy shoes, boots, tools, and hands with Rainwater.
  • Cool off your kids. Children don’t really care where the water comes from!
  • Use fresh Rainwater to fill wading pools or power sprinkler toys or just give your kids a soaking!
  • Hand water your lawn, plants and garden with rainwater filled watering cans.
  • Stranded at sea? Use a tarp to capture fresh rainwater for drinking or wash a wound in fresh Rainwater and wrap with a sterile bandage.
  • Rainwater has been used for burns!
  • Connect your Rainwater collection system to your irrigation/sprinkler system.
  • Use Rainwater for shampooing carpets and rugs. It won’t bleach them.
  • A transfer pump can supply Rainwater from your rain barrel to your pressure washer.
  • Do dishes in Rainwater. The soap will lather and cut grease better with soft Rainwater.
  • Boutique distillers can make vodka and other drinks using Rainwater.
  • Use Rainwater not tap water to reconstitute coconut, orange juice or other concentrates.
  • Use Rainwater for your compost pile; the next day, dig for worms and go fishin’.
  • Freeze Rainwater into blocks of ice and sell it to trendy martini bars as a cooling trough.
  • Add Essential Oils or flowers and freeze into cubes for flavored and unusual ice cubes.
  • Rainwater is used in many religious practices. Rainwater can be used in preparation of “prashad” (practiced by Hindus). In the Hebrew Bible a cistern of Rainwater is permitted to act as a mikveh’s water supply in purity and cleansing rituals. Pegans use Rainwater for rituals of Fertility and Rainwater is deemed good for magic use. Rainwater itself was worshiped as a natural element in many early religions.
  • Rainwater may be used for all potable needs when properly filtered and disinfected.

Farming and Home Gardens Uses

  • Start plant clippings in Rainwater rather than tap water.
  • Mix with plant nutrients for a chlorine free nutrient for plants.
  • Consider Rainwater based Hydroponics. I have!
  • Drip Rainwater into you Irrigation. It’s good for your plants or garden and saves water over alternative watering techniques!
  • Promote Rainwater based Aquaponics for healthy fish and shrimp.
  • Rain gardens are water retention zones for drainage.
  • Rainwater is the best source of water for plants. It is free of salts and other minerals that can be harmful to root growth. Plants and grass do better when fed Rainwater.
  • Water livestock with captured Rainwater. Per Fred Prins, Lamas will drink Rainwater without spitting it back at you.
  • Cultivate green roofs that are covered with growing media and vegetation to enable rainfall infiltration and evapotranspiration of stored water.
  • Build bioswales, vegetated, mulched, or xeriscaped channels that provide treatment and retention as they move storm water from one place to another. Look it up on the Web.
  • Design landscape to welcome the Rainwater.
  • Design Rainwater catchment in a high tunnel to increase natural pressure for irrigation.

Cooking with Rainwater does not alter taste

  • Set Rainwater Sun Tea in the sun for a truly great taste. Sweeten with stevia.
  • Juice with Rainwater instead of tap water.
  • Use Rainwater for making coffees and hot teas.
  • Be creative with Rainwater soups and broths. Invite neighbors for Rock Soup!
  • Rainwater used in baking provides good quality water. Yeast is perfect with Rainwater.
  • Rainwater ice cubes leave no mineral residue in the bottom of the glass.

Manufacturing and Retail

  • Use Rainwater for industrial processes instead of municipally treated water.
  • Rainwater can be used in a ship’s or manufacturing plant’s boilers.
  • Consider Ion Splitting the Rainwater into Acid (2.5pH) and Alkaline (11.5pH) water for cleaning and sanitization. Low and high pH rainwater are both said to have remarkable cleaning and sterilization properties.
  • Bottle Rainwater instead of using tap or spring water – Pure and Simple. It doesn’t deplete the aquifer, is healthy and it tastes better.
  • Process all your beverages requiring water with Rainwater. Less purification and processing are needed with Rainwater.
  • Brew Rainwater Beer. Rainwater speeds up the brewing process as pure water is a must.
  • Make Rainwater Wine – ‘nuf said!
  • Use Rainwater to make cosmetics and market it as “made with purified rainwater” which is kinder to the skin.
  • Mix Rainwater with air conditioner condensate to water plants in a nursery.
  • Create a Rainwater drip screen and blow air through it for cooling.

Fun with Rainwater – Watch out for lightning!

  • Educate Children – Use Rainwater Catchment to demonstrate precipitation measuring, simple calculations for teaching children about Area and Rainwater Volume. Teach them how to germinate and grow plants with Rainwater. Teach them about Rainwater as a solution for the future. Children need an appreciation of the concept “Water is Life.”
  • Give your friends a glass of cold Rainwater. They will exclaim “Wow!” Throw it on them. They will “Chill” and likely reciprocate!
  • When face painting use Rainwater instead of tap water to keep the chlorine off the skin.
  • Drinking Rainwater at a Wine Tasting Party will not interfere with the subtle nuances of the fine wine.
  • Collect Rainwater to feed your Venus Fly Traps. The no salt, Rainwater is the trick!
  • Make music with Rainwater using Musical Glasses or a Rainwater xylophone.
  • Stand under a downspout during a rainfall and get totally drenched. I did this as a kid.
  • Turn your head towards the sky during a rain and catch Rainwater on your tongue. I also did this as a kid and still do!
  • Build watermills inside a downspout to generate electricity, maybe a little out there.
  • Soak your tired feet in soft, warm Rainwater then ask your spouse for a pedicure.
  • Use Rainwater as refill water for the fish tank. It is soft and has no minerals or Chlorine.
  • Participate in The Recycled Rain Project, an annual art show creating works made with
  • Rainwater to raise awareness of water issues.
  • Fill Balloons and squirt guns with Rainwater. Have a Song Kran Splash Party (Look up Song Kran Splash Party on the internet).
  • Use Rainwater and Rainwater ice cubes for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge instead of wasting aquifer water. Californians would be appreciative.
  • Do this with your kids. Rajan KS’s Grandma would create a rain water collector with large white cloth. The ends were tied on 4 poles with a few pebbles at the center. Collect the water in buckets. The cloth works as a collector/filter and you get crystal clear water in front of the house during the rainfall. Let the kids play in it. They love to get wet!
  • Let your kids help you design a Rain Chain Downspout to channel Rainwater down to the rain barrel. It serves as a creative decoration in the garden.
  • Create a Rainwater water slide and splash pool then have a slide party.

If you are a movie aficionado, maybe you can do the following:

  • Belt out “Singing in the Rain,” as sung by Gene Kelly, while dancing in the rain. Organize a Flash Mob to Spontaneously Sing and Play in the rain.
  • Re-route leaves during rainfall directing the Rainwater from leaf to leaf to provide your love with a much needed drink as Richard Gere (Sir Lancelot) did for Julia Ormond (Guinevere) in “First Knight.
  • Remember the scene in Out of Africawhere Robert Redford washed Meryl Streep’s hair with “collected” water. Wash your wife’s hair then rinse it with Rainwater. You could receive groans and moans like Meg Ryan delivered in “When Harry Met Sally.” The softness of Rainwater provides an exhilarating, I’ll have what she is having, experience.
  • And, finally number 101, organize a Rainwater wet T-shirt contest standing in the rain. Post it on YouTube to increase Rainwater awareness across the globe. It should go Viral.

REMEMBER – Be careful not to ingest untreated Rainwater and make sure that stored Rainwater is maintained fresh and free of pests. Otherwise, HAVE A GREAT TIME BEING CREATIVE.

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Larry Curran

Larry Curran

I have a passion for rainwater. In 2004, I built a home in Florida that uses rainwater as the only source of water. After retirement and 40 years as a CPA/ CFO, I formed Choose Rain, Inc., a small cap public company trading as “CHOS” OTCPK, to serve a sustainable need for bottled water with a low impact on the environment.
Larry Curran
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