Today I want to show a very simple diagram of a system designed for collecting rainwater, then to use the rain water for a sink. There is no filter on this barrel, so you probably shouldn’t consume it… although in a survival scenario you probably could use it. The main issue with this system is that there is no first flow dump to keep most of the roof chemicals out of the barrel. The objective here is for simplicity and usability.
In the above photo I show a typical 55 gallon drum for a rain barrel, but it can be a trash can or rubber made tub. You would cut a hole in the lid, place a screen material (like for windows) on the barrel and keep it in place by a bungee cord or the lid. This allows easy inflow and keeps mosquitoes out.
The reason for the open top, no mater your barrel material, is to it is easy to place the brass spigot on the bottom. I did a barrel where I threaded the barrel from the outside with a spigot, but I don’t like the idea of the plastic threads being the only thing holding the water back. Just thread the nut on the back of the spigot and that will help under the pressure to keep from leaking.
I didn’t put it in the photo, but about 2 inches from the top, you should place a 1/2 inch PVC overflow (with screen) that will overflow into your sink. The spigot is your sink faucet and it will always be about the same temperature as the air outside.
The sink can be a shop sink from a home improvement store, or just a random reclaimed sink that you found. There isn’t much involved in the sink drain. If you have a 5 gallon bucket that the sink drains into, you probably will need to build a stand (unless it comes with one like the shop sink) for your sink. If you are using a trashcan or 55 gallon drum, you can just lay the sink over the hole that you cut in the top of the barrel. You may come up with some way to hold everything taught just in case a large wind on an empty barrel.
I also didn’t show that the graywater bucket will have a spigot as well going to a garden hose that will be used for watering gardens. The alkaline waste is great for plants of many types.
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