Although demand for rainwater use has increased in North America, debates continue about its safety. On one hand, North American regulators and some technical associations suggest or require that rainwater be sterilized or chlorinated before its use in the home. (The considerable cost and complexity creates an increased barrier to the widespread adoption of home-scale rainwater capture and use.)
On the other hand, and on the other side of the world, more than 3 million Australians use rainwater for drinking, and 6.3 million use rainwater for some other household use. (Few of these systems use end-of-line sterilization or disinfection, and there have been no epidemics from rainwater use in Australia.) In this presentation, Rob Avis talks about this dichotomy, and summarizes the best practices for rainwater-harvesting system design derived from a large body of independent research. He also explains why good design and sensible maintenance practices can deliver drinking-quality water, without the need for sterilization or disinfection.