Studies have consistently raised questions on whether or not rainwater is fit for drinking. But the fact that several factors come into play here cannot stand unnoticed. Today, many communities primarily depend on rainwater for drinking purposes. But it all comes down to the environment, pollution, treatments, and water conservation techniques.

For starters, it is fair to say that rainwater is regular water that drops from the sky on earth. Thus, there is nothing about it that may render it unsafe to drink. But, the fact that it comes in contact with several objects while falling on the surface may make it dangerous eventually.

recovery-of-rainwater

For example- A man waiting to collect rainwater may find it safe to drink. But before the rainwater falls into his water container, it comes in contact with a dirty metal full of parasites, bacteria, and several other harmful germs. Naturally, it becomes hazardous for his health as it turns unclean and unsafe at the same time.

However, one can use tips to improve rainwater safety by practicing a filter, disinfect and test method to make it fit for drinking purposes.

Is Rainwater Safe For Drinking?

With all due respect to everything we have discussed above, the simple answer is- Yes. It is safe to drink but only as long as it doesn’t come in contact with anything. Unfortunately, that isn’t easy to examine. That is why more people rely on rainwater for everything else except for drinking.

Although several methods of treating rainwater and making it safe before drinking, one cannot be thoroughly sure whether it always works. More so, it is not always a convenient option for people everywhere. You may even have to use an expensive water filtration system to remove the harmful metals in them.

What is even worse is that making sure that these techniques work is a daunting task. So, if you fail to practice this method efficiently, you may end up with a dozen health problems. That is why studies suggest that it is always safer to use rainwater for other household purposes like cleaning, gardening, and bathing than drinking it.

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Also, anyone who is strictly planning to rely on rainwater as a primary source of drinking water may be on the verge of making a massive mistake. Many people also debate that boiling rainwater makes it safe to drink. Well, that is a whole new topic to discuss!

Does Boiling Rainwater Make It Safe To Drink?

It is common to believe that boiling rainwater can help eliminate all the toxins from the water and make it fit for drinking. But do you think that is as easy as it sounds?

It depends on what chemicals and harmful substances may be present in the rainwater, for starters. For example, you may be able to kill harmful bacteria and germs by boiling the rainwater. You may also get rid of dirt or dust, but you may not be able to get rid of harmful acids that settle in it.

With the ever-increasing industrial pollution, several harmful acids are released into thin air daily. When it rains, these acids like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide amalgamate to form dangerous water.

Although it may be safe for washing and other helpful household purposes, it may be the worst option for your health. That is because even after boiling such water, the acid does not disappear from it.

Eventually, drinking such harmful water, including acids, may leave you with a severe stomach ache, health disorders, and even underlying health problems that may result in life-risking situations.

How Do You Disinfect Rainwater?

There are many ways to disinfect rainwater today. If one doesn’t bring the results, you can be assured that the rest will. Thus, you can choose amidst plenty of options according to your convenience, rainwater uncleanliness, and more.

1. Microfiltration

This process is where the rainwater passes through a special pore-size membrane where it drifts from any harmful substances present inside it. Thus, this filtration process’s efficiency in making rainwater safe for drinking depends on the filter’s pore size. It is also effective in eliminating pathogens from the rainwater.

2. Boiling

Although boiling may not be an effective fix for all rainwater problems, it may be an excellent technique to remove germs, chemicals, and other minor substances as well. This is also one of the most affordable strategies to implement this process. So, make sure that you boil your rainwater carefully. We advise you to use another technique with this one to ensure utmost safety while drinking rainwater.

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3. Irradiation

Exposure to strong sunlight is one of the most natural methods used to eliminate unclean rainwater substances. As sunlight provides ultraviolet rays that may kill bacteria and many other viruses, it can be an effective method to ease this process. Thus, it can be a useful way of improving rainwater and eliminating harmful substances from it altogether.

4. Chlorine, iodine, and Ozone

Amidst all other impeccable disinfectants, Chlorination, Iodination, and Ozonation effectively deal with this problem. However, there are a few challenges. Chlorination may leave some potential toxic by-products and may also fail to kill all the viruses properly. The second may leave a strong and unpleasant taste while the latter may not be widely available everywhere.

Is Rain Water Better Than Tap Water?

While both rainwater and tap water may be unfit for drinking until filtered, there is a lot more to them. Most people get confused between the two and often find it daunting to understand which one is better. Both rainwater and tap water are used for several other purposes inside our homes.

Rainwater comes with nitrogen that is an exceptionally significant nutrient for plants. It is also essential for humans in many ways. However, tap water in different places can yield different results. Tap water in many areas may be alkaline or even saltier than the others.

They may also have lots of chlorides that may be less beneficial for both plants and humans in general. Many of them even contain high levels of sodium that can result in the weakening growth of plants. In humans, it may be the result of several underlying health problems.

Of course, it is tricky to distinguish between which is better amidst rainwater and tap water. That is because both come with their own set of benefits and drawbacks. But rainwater seems to be a healthier option as it is pure, contains fewer salts, minerals, and other chemicals.

Oh, and it may make the perfect friend for your garden plants in so many ways. But all of that is only until the rainwater is contaminated.

Are There Nutrients In Rainwater?

Rainwater is rich in nitrogen that may be a healthy alternative for your plants. We all know that plants require nitrogen in healthy quantities that help them to thrive without any inconvenience. Plants thus absorb all the nitrates from the soil that leads them to bloom better. That is how the development of lush foliage begins to occur in the first place.

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Other nutrients may be absent in rainwater. However, it is 100% soft water and thus may prove to be a better alternative for many reasons. Rainwater may also be slightly acidic. The pH levels in the rainwater are higher than those in the tap water. Thus, that may be a minus point. It typically has Ph levels between 5.0 to 5.5.

How Can We Reuse Rainwater?

Although rainwater has been proven to be harmful for human consumption, it may be helpful in many other ways. Yes, one can easily reuse rainwater for a multitude of activities at home or work. It all begins with rainwater harvesting.

Rainwater harvesting is one of the best ways to conserve rainwater and use it for household purposes like gardening, cleaning, washing clothes, bathing, and a lot more. One can also use them for composting, flushing toilets, and raising vegetables.

As we all know that water is one the most crucial elements of living, we must make every attempt to conserve it. The scariest part of this is that only 1% of the total water resources remain for human use today. It is naturally our responsibility to take care of this situation and make sure that there is enough water reserved for the coming generation.

By reusing rainwater in our day-to-day activities, we can conserve this precious element and help generations after we survive without minimal inconvenience.

Bottom Line

Rainwater has become one of the primary ways to converse water in many places across the world today. Each year, as the water scarcity rates rise, the need to harvest rainwater is growing dire and deeper. That is why we should start using rainwater to the best of our capabilities and as widely as possible.

Try to use rainwater in your day-to-day activities while using the remaining filtered water for drinking purposes. With these essential tips and tricks in mind, you will only be a step away from preserving the upcoming generation and helping them sustain longer on our beloved planet.

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Sonia Madaan is a writer and founding editor of science education blog EarthEclipse. Her passion for science education drove her to start EarthEclipse with the sole objective of finding and sharing fun and interesting science facts. She loves writing on topics related to space, environment, chemistry, biology, geology and geography. When she is not writing, she loves watching sci-fi movies on Netflix.