Is there such a thing as a Water Hoarder?

Letter from Anonymous

Keeping in mind, I am a widow, in her middle sixties with limited resources but a willingness to work hard and learn. I also have plenty of gumption and fortitude and a strong desire to survive – – –

As I stated in my submission, Just Because Your Elderly Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Be A Good Prepper, I installed a 225 gallon water storage tank with the rain gutters collecting rain water. In a short two week period, we have experienced three small thunderstorms. My rain gauge says we received less than one inch of rain from the three small thunderstorms, however, the rain that ran off my roof into the gutters and into the 225 gallon storage tank is full and overflowing.

First of all, let me say, I am shocked and amazed the system caught that much rain water in such a short time with such a small amount of rain. It’s hard for me to realize that much water can be captured so easily. I have instantly become what I would call a fanatic about capturing rain water, especially since where I live we are experiencing the worst extreme drought conditions I’ve ever seen.

I don’t live near any kind of water. The water we receive comes from the city water system but because of the drought conditions we have been given water restrictions for the last three to four years. I don’t have means to dig a well either. My rain collection system installed just weeks ago is now full of rain water and I have plans to install another 225 gallon storage tank on the opposite side of the house.

The water I collect will be used to water my garden and trees. It will also be used in the event of an emergency. I also fill up empty plastic bottles with RO water from my kitchen and I store those bottles in my food storage area. I’ve researched methods of keeping that water safe to use if I need to.

I realize as I use some of the rain water to water my garden and trees, each time it rains (if it rains) water will be replenished inside the tanks. If for instance it rains enough that the ground is saturated and the tanks are full, which means I would have 550 gallons of water, what should I do to continue to collect rain water? I know I can set five gallon buckets out to collect some, but I guess what I’m looking for is a method of continual collection. I’m looking for suggestions and ideas.

If any one has ideas I would appreciate detailed installation methods – keeping in mind I have started with two, 225 gallon storage tanks hooked up to my gutters. Is there such a thing as a Water Hoarder?


  1. Depending on your state yes you can be considered a water hoarder.

  2. “Hoarding” means you a getting more of an item than you can use DURING A TIME OF SHORTAGE. Now, in some states they are looking at perpetual shortages, but others are looking for more ways to control your life. What better way of making you a criminal for doing something that takes care of your family!

    I have not seen one instance of “government intervention” on the water issue that actually helped solve the problem. From Colorado to California it’s all about control. I own the land, and have to pay taxes on it even when I can’t control who accesses it. Yet I don’t have the right to use what flows on or under it. REALLY!

    • heck jp, they want to charge us for the water running off now, and are proposing charges on having solar setups. that’s my line in the sand. i WILL NOT pay for sunshine, nor for rain.

      • Wait till they charge you for air.

        • mountaingypsy says:

          Steve, Better whisper that! Some places are trying to rule on solar. Since when do ‘they’ own the sunshine. In my state, they ‘own’ my water.

          • late2theParty says:

            Check all sides of the story – they aren’t charging to have solar or use solar, it’s the power company wanting to be ‘reimbursed’ for the use of ‘their’ infrastructure when you sell the power to them. Presently the bigger requests I see are for middle level projects, 10k kw to 20k kw. Definitely not your average solar home.

            I disagree with the idea; the power company already gets money from me in the times when solar isn’t going back into the system. Let that be my donation to the hardware. Think of it this way, they would have had the cost if I were on solar or not. SO I should not be charged for doing a good thing.

    • mountaingypsy says:

      JP, You mentioned CO, so I must reply how furious I am, in not being allowed to use or save one drop of roof/rain water. We also have a well and are not allowed to use our own water for a garden! We can buy a tank of water elsewhere and have it delivered to use. I think they are selling our water to other states. I suppose they will repair my roof if it gets damaged from ‘their’ rain! I can understand not washing cars or driveways, but a garden! But I suppose all the elite yards, golf courses, swimming pools and acres of green grass can have water….Makes me so mad. Some water rationing should have been started years ago, before things got so bad.

  3. i have two 500 gallon tanks hooked up to mine. they fill up with just a good shower. we had a derecho knock out power for two very hot weeks. we never made a dent in the water level. if you want to keep collecting you could build a pond, or get bigger tanks. they sell 10k gallon and bigger.

  4. mom of three says:

    In our city, we are only allowed two 55 gallon hook up to our down spouts. We also have water restrictions put on us during the summer months. If it comes from the sky, we should be able to capture it for use later on.

  5. Miriam Kearney says:

    Unless you re legally prohibited, you can usually daisy chain rain barrels to each other with a short section of hose.. My house has a reasonable slope front to back so I have a rain barrel at the top, feeding a length of buried plumbing pipe to a tap at the bottom. I plan to add another barrel with the short hose. We get a lot of rain at times and this is a good way to store it. I’ve also thought of diverting the rain water into the house and having a larger water storage downstairs. I’m figuring I might be able to find a propane fueled pump to integrate it into my plumbing for use in toilets and in emergencies, even drinking water after treating.

  6. We definitely do not have drought here, July was kind of dry, but as a whole we are pretty close to average. I will say that the last 2 weeks have made up for any deficits, as a matter of fact it is pouring cats and dogs right now.

    I also have 55 gallon blue barrels daisy chained with #1 at the top of a slope. I do plan on acquiring more drums as time and money allow.

    The whole concept of regulating rain water is just beyond my scope of understanding…..

  7. Dear Anonymous, I agree that whatever falls out of the sky and lands on my home and property is mine. If I want to store it for enjoyment later, then so be it. You might think about storing water bricks underground that will collect rainwater for later use. There are lots of larger tanks that can be put underground for water storage and then a solar pump will pump it out later for use. In Missouri we have Cisterns underground that we use for drinking water using reverse osmosis. Regardless of how much you store, it will never seem to be enough. In Austin TX, some homeowners have 10,000 gallon tanks which are filled by rainfall. Most I have spoken with say they have never had to buy water or run out of water for many many years. Rain gets sparse, but sooner or later we will get a nice gully washer. I bury a lot of my emergency water below the frost line to protect it. I have dug many a hole, but not in one day. Sometimes it takes a few weekends to get the hole deep enough using just a shovel. I put water Stabil in each container, but don’t plan on ever digging them up until I need them. Will still need to distill the water before drinking. We all “Hoard” something. If water is important to you, then Hoard it.

  8. IF u’re concerned about a city code officer rec’ing a report about “your big water collection,” it’s possible to put water barrels or a tank inside a shed or garage. On the shed, u may want to ck the supporting framework, to estimate how much weight it can hold, as a 55 gal barrel holds approx 450 lbs of water -a lot of weight in a relatively concentrated area. An underground tank is another option, but that may be beyond your means, as it is for me.
    If u don’t know yet, find out what the law is in your city & state.

  9. I guess I’m spoiled. I live high enough to not flood and low enough that the house has 7 year around springs in around it . 4 of those spring have never slowed down no matter who dry it gets. I picked my place partly for the water.

  10. I usually have 300-400 gallons of unfiltered rain water, but then this area is called the abspestos forest, it rains so often that forest fires are virtually impossible since everything is saturated most of the time. the barrels are always full despite being my main water source. i also keep about a dozen 5 gallon water jugs (bottled water type sealed) down in the cellar, a back up water supply if the filter breaks or i don’t have time to boil a lot of it.

  11. Water is something I put an awful lot of thought and preparation into.If you are certain you can’t access the surface water through a shallow well,then there is no other option save collection and storage (hoarding). I’ll try and describe what I would do,were I in your situation. Someone here described it as daisy chaining. Thats is having your 250 gallon tank fill,then overflow into second,third,fourth, ETC,ETC, tank. You would make this possible by cutting a 2 inch hole on the side,at the upper edge of your first container (the 250),then you would cut the same size hole on your next container (another 250 or 55 gallon drums) in the same area ,side upper edge. You would connect these using a pvc pipe,a collar and various fittings that could all be bought at lowes or home depot. On the opposite side of your second container,you would drill the same size hole and do the same thing with PVC. You could have as many as you like connected this way. When the first tank fills,it overflows into the second tank,when the second one fills,it overflows into the third, and so on. I hope I made that clear as mud?
    Before i shutup, are you certain you cant access your surface water. In some areas its not but 10- 30 feet down. A young guy with a good back could use a post hole auger and get that deep in a day. I dug my own well using that method and if it hadnt been for a torrential rain that slowed down my progress, I could have dug mine in a day. It ended up taking 3,but in my defense,I’m fat and old.

  12. you should also look into gray water recycling as well. you can use washing machine, shower and bath sink water in a variety of ways.

    • mountaingypsy says:

      River, That would make too much sense! I do not think that is allowed in most places either. (I wrote above, the rules in CO) That grey water could surely be used for lawns at least. To mention ‘Fracking’, it not only poisons water underground, the land, and area, it uses millions of gallons of pure fresh water per well! That fresh water should be for food growing or drinking and such, not down a chemical filled well. I understand frack wells are still drilling in the drought states, that desperately need the water.

      • You need to do some research on fracing. Your lack of knowledge is showing.

        • mountaingypsy says:

          TX, It is ‘fracking’. I do know about it. Several areas in my state are now ruined. There was a documentary recently, besides the one in PA and other states. Several areas are not recommended to move to or live as there is now bad water, and people are sick. As well as the earthquakes in some states. As it takes millions of gallons of water, per well, and chemicals are sent underground, how is that OK? Besides the land around wells is ruined like coal mining. If the chemicals used were so safe, why do the oil companies refuse to disclose to the public. The wiser public is trying to keep frack wells away from their towns. Water is more important than oil to survive.

  13. a friend on the coast uses 2by4’s and tarps
    to make a simple but strong frame to collect water.
    also uses 2by4’s/frame and rope to securetarps to trees or a structure.
    been doing that for 25+years. the tarps are an eyesore but its cheap…its simple and it works.

    he even jumps in after a time in his homemade sweat lodge.

    the other thing like said above is build a
    pond for collecting use the daisy chain system to keep your criminal water horde

    also maybe have a pond that is plumbed for your grey water for gardening?

    i highly suggest you look into Earthship Biotexture and how they utilize their water/greywater in Earthships.

    Idea originated in Arizona.

    to get rid of the ugliness of tarps and to utilize cheap/free building supplies that can also be used in your total water collecting and possible house defenses via using rammed earth tire bricks check out

    i am just a old hippie kid…
    but i LOVE the creativity.
    To me Earthships research might
    help you get some ideas…and they are beautiful.

  14. *he even jumps in after a time After USING his homemade sweat lodge.
    (to cool down).

  15. Chuck Findlay says:

    A hoarder is generally whoever the government says is a hoarder, so yes there is such a thing as a water hoarder.

    But I disagree with government standards and personally I don’t see storing water you collect or pay for as hoarding.

    I don’t live in a low water state so it’s not an issue here. In fact it rained very hard all day long today and I have a lot of work to do over the next several days because of all the rain today. I hope it’s dry tomorrow as I need to get up on a few roofs to patch spots.

    If I did live in an area with low rain fall I would have rain barrels (illegal or not) and just be crafty at keeping them out of site.

  16. late2theParty says:

    There are many sources of water depending on where you live. Dehumidifiers are still legal in most states that are high humidity. Transpiration of a large number of trees isn’t catching rain fall, evaporating water from ‘wet’ soil or vegetation is still legal (probably best after a rainfall?, you didn’t catch rain…), I’ve created a few FAQ in paper for neighbors – that it is the surface area, not the volume, (wide and long versus deep) and that using Tupperware, Glad trashbags, even empty coke cans (cut em in half, double the area!) can save your water. {Yes I am talking about possible illegal rain catching.}

    I can only see the word ‘hoarder’ being used in a situation where what you have bought/grabbed is necessary for life, AND you have more than enough to keep you and family etc. alive for years to come, and last that you grabbing/getting this water (resource, food) will keep others from living in a short period of time. (especially if the amount you can ‘hoard’ in that time is more than 2x what other’s need to live.)

    Will I advocate giving up OPSEC? No. But there must be ways to help others and still maintain a level of safety. Just advice, maybe knowledge “Better to use fresh urine to flush a wound than to use possibly infectious water.” “Nearby river cattails are useful for food AND clothing (pillows tooo!)” Or maybe use word of mouth (tell one neighbor, they tell 2, they tell…) Yes it’s risky, but life without others is no life.

  17. Daytona Dave says:

    You could get a cheap aboveground pool at wal-mart they hold lots of water and cost less than storage containers and if anybody asks, its just a pool.

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