Why Does the UK Government Disallow the Drinking of Rain Water?
Drinking rain water is not against the law, but you couldn’t sell it as drinking water, and you may even be prosecuted if you give it to children or people who are part of vulnerable groups. Rain water is not bad for humans, you can fill your paddling pool with it and sit in it all day without it hurting you. Many people use water tanks to collect rainwater for potential drinking or numerous other useful undertakings that will be discussed in this article, such as toilet flushing and garden irrigation.
Rain water is not toxic, nor will it do you any harm, and many people have drunk stream water without consequence and that has far more bacteria than rainwater. You can go outside when it is raining, leave a glass out there to fill up, and then drink it all down and be completely fine.
There are two reasons why rain water is not suitable as your primary source of drinking water. The first is because the water will be slightly contaminated with the bacteria in the air, which is a problem for people with severely weakened immune systems.
The most prominent reason why you shouldn't drink rain water is because of how it is stored. If you store even a small amount of rainwater for more than a day, then it will start to go stale. No matter how many harmful germs are in the air, you can drink fresh rainwater without consequence, but the longer the water sits, then the longer the harmful bacteria has to multiply.
Think Storage and Filtration
The real problem with storage and filtration is sanitation. Keeping rainwater water fresh and clean is difficult, especially when you consider that its container contributes to the cleanliness of the water. People forget that tap water has chlorine in it, which is why it takes a lot longer to go stale than rain water.
Running your rainwater through your household water filter will not make it safe to use, in the same way that running petrol through your water filter will not make it safe to drink. The problem is that bacteria grows faster in untreated rainwater, and your filter will only remove impurities such as fluorine, chlorine, metals, etc. It will not remove bacteria.
If you want to make your rainwater safe to drink, then you need to control the growth of bacteria with something such as an ultra-violet water-filter system, which provides enough ultraviolet energy to kill germs (think of it as sun-baking your rainwater’s bacteria).
Consider Other Uses for Your Rain Water
Some people use rainwater to flush their toilet, which is fine and may even be good for your toilet so long as the water is not too stale. Rainwater is very good for the initial stages of cleaning your car when you are trying to get the stubbornest dirt off the paintwork.
Topping up your fishpond with rainwater is okay, but do not fill it from the bottom with rain water because it will accumulate bacteria quickly the same way your drinking water will. Water your garden with rainwater, especially if your garden is used to rain water because plants that have adapted to rainwater will perform worse with tap water.
Rainwater can be used for mostly anything. Our suggested uses would be to utilise the harvested rainwater in garden irrigation and for flushing the toilet. Both of these suggested uses have the potential to reduce your household water bill, as you are utilising naturally harvested rainwater as opposed to relying on the grid. Whilst in theory rainwater can be safe to drink following rigorous purification, we would recommend utilising it for purposes that do not require purification.