It falls from the sky all around us. It’s enough to cause flooding in a desert and make the sea itself rise. But is it safe to drink rainwater? We often get that question, and it’s an understandable one. Rainwater seems like the obvious choice of drinking water. It’s clean, abundant in most parts of Queensland, and it’s pretty easy to collect.
But we don’t seem to rely too heavily on rainwater tanks for drinking water. So why is that? Well, there are several reasons why rainwater isn’t normally collected in tanks purely for drinking. But before we get into those reasons, let’s take a look at the basics of rainwater purity.
As a general rule, pure rainwater is completely safe to drink – it may even be purer than tap water
Rain is caused by the condensation of evaporated water. Essentially, the atmosphere acts as a giant distillery; water evaporates, before condensing into rain and falling back to earth. On that basis, it’s perfectly safe to drink. Rainwater is pure, and in a lot of cases it’s even purer than the tap water most of us drink every day. However, there’s more to it than that alone. Rainwater isn’t guaranteed to be pure, and there are a few things that can raise the question: is rainwater really safe to drink?
Rainwater is only as safe to drink as the plumbing it comes from – here’s what that means
The first thing to think about it this: rainwater is only as clean as the system that collects it. If you’re collecting rainwater from an impure tank or plumbing system, it’s not going to be pure. That’s an important point to consider because rain is the one water source that has to be collected in one way or another before it’s useable. Spring water collects purely in the ground, and dam water collects in dams, but rainwater falls on the ground. That’s why it has to be collected before it’s used. And it’s during that collection that the risk of contamination is highest.
Is it safe to drink rainwater in polluted areas?
What about polluted areas – is it safe to drink rainwater if it’s been exposed to pollution? In a lot of cases, it isn’t. However, pollution levels vary throughout the world. There are some parts of the world where pollution is so heavy that rain is in fact acidic. In those areas, that rain is certainly not safe to drink.
However, in other areas pollution is only mild, or it’s limited to debris rather than atmospheric pollution. In those areas, the rain itself is probably still safe to drink. However, you have to remember that the pollution found in rain will vary from one day to the next. Essentially, we would strongly advise against drinking rainwater from polluted areas.
Boiling and filtering rainwater can make it even safer to drink
Even polluted rain isn’t beyond purification, provided you have the right filtration and distillation systems available to you. However, it then becomes a question of convenience. If you’re going to apply the same filtration methods to rainwater as you would to dam water, wouldn’t it be more practical not to drink it? After all, dams are essentially a giant receptacle for rainwater already.
Is it safer to drink rainwater or spring water?
So with that in mind, how safe is rainwater to drink compared to other natural water sources? Take spring water for example. Spring water is filtered by an exceptionally effective natural process. It comes from deep underground, in areas where pollution is yet to take hold.
It’s also pre-collected in springs, where its purity is consistent and easy to measure. On that basis, we view spring water as the safest source of drinking water – especially after it undergoes a rigorous purification process. Rainwater may be safe to drink in most cases, but it simply doesn’t match spring water.
For all your drinking water needs, get in touch with the experts at So Fresh today!