An Open Letter to the Residents of Flint
by RainSaucers Inc. on January 6th, 2017
Dear Residents of Flint,
I am writing to offer my help. My company makes rainwater catchment funnels called RainSaucers, right here in the USA. The purpose of RainSaucers is to allow anyone, anywhere to easily set up their own local source of clean water by catching rainwater straight from the sky. Over the 6 years we've been in business, we've sold our product all over the world- mainly to people without access to a clean water or those who fear that access may be compromised. For example, we recently supplied a remote island town in New Foundland, Canada (see photo above) under a pilot project aimed at reducing the problem of residents having to haul water to their homes.
I mention our Canada project because in many ways your situation is similar. My understanding is that to get clean water, you are now bringing in bottled water which takes up time and gas money. Yet this only serves your drinking and cooking needs and doesn't provide you with enough water for bathing. What you need is a source of clean water that comes in larger volumes right to your home, for as little cost as possible. You need rainwater harvesting (RWH).
Here's my proposed RWH installation for each household:
- Deployment of 2 x 59" RainSaucers, each on a 32 gallon BRUTE or Roughneck container (as we did in Canada). This will collect almost 22 gallons every time it rains 1 inch. Between March and November this should yield an average of 66 gallons per month (based on historical averages for Flint) .
- As to the allocation of the 66 gallons, a family of four is likely to use 1/2 of that for drinking/cooking (around a gallon a day) and the other 1/2 for bathing. For bathing, I recommend trying one of those $10 camping bag showers (just bring inside to your normal shower after it heats up outside). I suspect you could get around 10-15 short Navy showers out of your setup each month.
- Rain, as you may know, is pure natural distilled water and 100% potable when it falls from the sky. So the only thing required for drinking, is a method to kill any organisms that may develop while the water is sitting outside. Many of my customers use a Berkey filter for their rainwater but cheaper ones are also available. If the state of Michigan has already provided you with a filter you may be able to use that, provided it also works on organisms. Boiling the water is an option as well as a little bleach or tincture of iodine (see our post on this).
- Now for the Pricing of the install itself...
* 2 x 32 gallon Roughneck containers should be around $30 at Home Depot
* Normally we would charge $180 for the 2 x 59" RainSaucers and the 2 x Faucet kits needed to turn a Roughneck container into rain barrel. But for individual residents of Flint, we will bring that price down to $150 including shipping. Just contact us and mention this letter.
* The only other possible budget item for the installation is the cost of getting the rain barrels off the ground (to access the faucet). Two concrete blocks under each unit (see picture) should not cost more than $10.
So all in, each household can probably pull this off with a Budget of $200. I understand the State of Michigan has already spent $200 Million on the 50,000 households affected. That equates to $4,000 per household for just a temporary, highly imperfect solution. Even if rainwater harvesting only reduces the problem by half, it would still be 10X more efficient than what the State of Michigan is currently doing.
Inventor and Owner, RainSaucers Inc.
P.S. State of Michigan water officials- please don't be afraid of contacting us too. We'd love to work with you on behalf of the residents.
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