Method for gathering water…….

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I live in the Southeast and we have gotten a tremendous amount of rain. I looked out my kitchen window and saw an umbrella sitting there in the rain – “BINGO!”


I stuck the umbrella upside down on top of a Home Depot bucket. The simple idea here is to use the surface area of the umbrella to capture falling rain – and allow it to drain into the bucket. 

It worked fantastic. I had a particularly heavy ran and the bucket filled close to half-way (2.5 gallons). The water did pool quite a bit in the umbrella as it was raining. Placing a couple of holes or tears would help the water flow into the bucket. 

Imagine:  Stashed in your shed or garage a dozen buckets bought for a couple bucks a piece along with a dozen umbrella’s bought at the dollar store. See some rain clouds coming? -Place a dozen bucket/umbrella combinations out in the yard and depending on how hard it comes down ending up with a couple dozen gallons of water is not out of the question.

Of course, there are many other methods – this is just one example.


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  1. We also keep all of our cat litter buckets and plan to use them to drain off some of the water from our water catchments. When it rains hard, your barrels will fill and the rest of the water will overflow, so remove some of the water to buckets for sanitation ETC rather than let it spill onto the ground. We could also set the buckets out around the yard to fill as well.

  2. An important part of this post is to think outside the proverbial box. This was a great idea, that was thought of on the fly. In a SHTF situation, every day would present new challenges and new opportunities to overcome them. Thanks for the mental stimulation.

  3. Very clever. One caveat: those cheap umbrellas from the dollar store are likely made in China and there is no way to know what chemicals they used as “dyes” in the fabric; so, filter and shock before consuming! If it’s made in China, it’s defective, toxic, dangerous, or all three.

  4. Rourke, a great idea. I also live in the southeast and this looks like a good idea for also filling rain barrels for the garden. Servantheart brings up a good point about Chinese made products, but a search of second hand stores oor hospice stores for American made umrellas.

  5. Excellent and simple idea! You could fashion many materials to act as the “umbrella”, thanks for giving the ol’ brain something to ponder.

  6. We have a 40 gallon garbage can under our downspout to collect rainwater. I drilled a hole and screwed in a spigot about 6″ from the bottom and threw a piece of screen over the top and held it down with bungee cords to keep out mosquitoes. Works like a champ. We also save cat litter jugs etc to empty the barrel when it is full. We are going to hook another one to it so that when one is full the overflow goes into the other can.

    Another way to get water is if you use dehumidifiers. Our basement is usable, not liveable space and we run 2 dehumidifiers 24/7. I enpty the water reservoirs into gallon milk jugs. I can get 3-4 gallons a day. It’s another way to water the garden or drink it if you had to. It’s basically distilled water.

  7. @servantheart: The only working model I built was from instructions that were posted in Mother Earth News which I suspect came from a military survival manual I had back in the fifties. The one from ME works but needs to be somewhat larger to capture enough. The dew collector is a plastic sheet draped over a cup or other container in a cone shaped configuration with a small hole over the cup. On an overnight camping trip years ago at Bridgeport California, it yielded about three quarters of a coffee cup full of moisture. On th west side which is wetter of the Sierras it probably would have benn a cup and a half.

  8. Rourke- good idea- like a giant funnel. We live in the NE and I always keep buckets on the side of the house and barn where the rain runs off our metal roof. I use it for the garden. Arlene

  9. Servantheart -I promised my bread and pickle recipe-
    Many books have similar recipes-
    I sort of tweak one from a couple.I recommend these books for canning
    Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving-edited by Judi Kingry and Lauen Devine
    Ball Blue Book to preserving
    Putting Food By by Janet Greene

    Bread and Butter pickles –
    6 qts of thinly sliced cucumbers(about 20 if 4 inches long)
    4-6 medium onions cut up -small size pieces
    1/2 cup pickling salt ( I use Kosher salt)
    1 and 1/2 Quarts of white vinegar
    4 and 1/2 cups of suger
    1/2 cup mustard seed ( I get by with 1/4 cup)
    1 Tablespoon celery seed
    1tsp. turmeric

    Wash and scrub cucs.Put onions and cucs in a large pottery bowl or stainless steel pot- put lots of ice on it along with the salt and let it sit for 2-3 hours. Then wash it thoroughly and drain
    Combine the vinegar, sugar and spices in a pot and heat to a boil then add the cucs and onions and bring it back to a boil-mixing it up as it heats.
    Pack into hot clean canning jars (leave a tad of room at the top of each jar 1/4 inch is fine.)
    Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes shut off water and wait 5 minutes (this helps the product adjust to a different temp and helps the jars to seal faster) remove and out on a towel to cool. Listen for each jar to ping ( sound of the vacuum drawing the top in) .Allow two weeks for the flavor to enhance before eating.(my husband has eaten them the same day and enjoyed them) Please let us know how you are do !!!

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