The other day, we had the water shut off for ten hours. We had plenty of water for drinking and enough for washing. I issued an order that toilets were to be flushed only when it was important to flush them. In the garage, we had water in old vinegar bottles for toilets. This really paid off. We used eight of them—two gallons per flush.
I had the beginning of a larger collection system. It is a device inserted into a rain gutter down spout which diverts a portion of the water to a container. I had the catchers but not the containers. I’ve corrected that error. I got two 32 gallon round garbage cans. I cut a hole in the top of the lid for the garden hose and a hole in the side to serve as an overflow. I didn’t get a rectangular garbage can otherwise the walls would bulge. The can will need to be empty before freezing water.
In the future, I expect to be able to dip out water for toilets, washing and other non-potable purposes.
Be aware that some states have laws against the collection of rain water (Colorado and other arid states). These are places where the farmers are dependent upon every bit rain for their crops. They can get very nasty when they perceive that someone is cutting into their water supply. On the other hand, this system temporarily retains a portion of that water and everything else continues to the aquifer. No water is used except during an emergency. It also pays to be inconspicuous.