Is Rain Water Safe to Drink?


Most of the water we drink was rain water at some point in time. Regardless of where you live, rain water is safe to drink as long as it has not come into contact with anything.

Importance of Water

  • Water is one of life's most vital necessities. The US Armed Forces has long taught their soldiers the Rules of Three, which states that a person can die of thirst after about three days.

    Since the human body is made up of approximately 75% water, proper hydration is vital to bodily functions. Dehydration can affect mental capacities, body temperature, and metabolism.

Water Safety Concerns

  • Boiling water is the safest way to kill bacteria, and is the best way to cleanse water for immediate consumption. Water should be boiled at a hard rolling boil for one minute. Increasing the boiling time does not kill more bacteria, and actually results in more water being released a steam. Improve the taste of boiled water by stirring it, which adds oxygen.

How to Collect Rain Water

  • Collecting rain water for use as drinking water can be unpredictable depending on where you live. Since most areas only get up to 1" of rain at one time, collecting large amount of rain water may be difficult.

    Having a large surface area is the most important thing when trying to collect rain water. A child's inflatable swimming pool is an easy choice since it is portable, but it is bulky to store when not in use as a rain catcher. According to one source, a six-foot diameter pool that has collected one inch of water will translate into about 17 gallons of water.

How to Collect Snow or Ice

  • If you find yourself in an extreme situation where water is unavailable, it is safe to drink water melted from snow or ice. It is important to not melt the snow or ice in your mouth, as this could cause further dehydration, will not quench thirst, and may lower your core body temperature.

    Place the snow or ice in a container and place the container next to your body, but not in direct contact with your skin; your body temperature will slowly melt the ice to a drinkable temperature.

Hot to Collect Morning Dew

  • Water can also be collected from the morning dew by using a clean cloth and wiping down non-poisonous plants, flowers, shrubs, and grass. Wring the dew into a clean bowl or container from time to time and repeat collecting the dew. While this method of water collection is quite laborious, it could save your life if a safe supply of water is unavailable.


  • Photo Credit "thousand reflections" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Yuliya Libkina (Yuliya Libkina) under the Creative Commons Attribution license. "gotas de chuva caindo na piscina" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Wagner Machado Carlos Lemes (Wagner Machado Carlos Lemes) under the Creative Commons Attribution license. "New-Year's Eve 2007-2008" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: bortescristian (Cristian Bortes) under the Creative Commons Attribution license. "Go Green" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: bfick (Brandon Fick) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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