Umbrella Water Collector

Umbrella Water CollectorMost folks use an umbrella to ward off the rain, but I wondered if one could be used to collect rain for the purpose of obtaining potable water. The parabolic shape of an open umbrella acts as a bowl when inverted (handle pointing upward) and could be used to collect rain but would have to be monitored in order to empty portions of rainwater into a vessel. The umbrella could be tilted to the side and stabilized for drainage but the angle would reduce it’s collectable surface area.

After pondering various approaches of collection I decided that I could modify the umbrella to make a funnel, thus eliminating the need to monitor the collection process while at the same time maximizing the surface area. The umbrella could be placed over a vessel and left unattended. Because rainy weather is often also windy, a tripod could be used to stabilize the umbrella as illustrated in the photo.

A hole was needed near the tip of the umbrella so I improvised a make-shift grommet by using duct tape. I keep duct tape wrapped around my water bottle so if I needed to, I could improvise this hack while in the field. I placed a piece of duct tape over the inside surface of the fabric to facilitate a clean cut. I then folded the umbrella fabric lengthwise and cut a “V” about 3/4″ wide which created a diamond shaped hole when unfolded. I placed a second piece of duct tape on the outside of the hole and then replaced the inside piece with new tape so that the tape adhesives sealed together through the hole. I folded the tape patch and cut a smaller 1/2″ “V” in the center thus creating a sealed edge lining of the fabric opening. When I placed the umbrella over the collection bin I decided to place a stone next to the hole in order to facilitate better drainage by creating a low point for the collected water to exit.

The open umbrella could also be used to collect dew when left out overnight. Alternatively, a piece of tape can be placed on the outside over the hole so that the umbrella can be used in the conventional manner.

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One thought on “Umbrella Water Collector

  1. Excellent idea and very practical. Will make me look for cheap umbrellas at yard sales and never throw out old ones unless they are completely destroyed. Good job!

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