Friday, 27 May 2011

Introducing our New Rainwater Tanks

Until recently, we had just over 1000 litres (260 US gallons) of rainwater storage space, which just about manages to do the job for all our existing yearly watering needs. But with the drought we had this spring - 2 months of no rain during our normal rainy season - we had very nearly run out by April. So we've bought in some lovely new water butts.

They're pretty hard-core as you can see! These are recycled liquid food containers, or 'intermediate bulk containers' (I.B.C.s), each holding 1100 litres. Being discarded objects from the food industry, lucky people can pick them up free of charge. Less lucky people like us can get them for between £25 and £40 each. An absolute bargain compared to shop-bought water butts!

I'm quite determined to provide all our garden water needs from rainwater. It's so much better for the plants, it's also way cheaper and of course, fresh water is becoming more and more of a precious resource these days. So it's good to look after it. We've gone a bit overboard and now have a massive extra 4400 litres (1144 US gallons) of rainwater storage capacity! Here are photos of the other two - both are now plumbed in to some of our roof space:

Living in a barn as we do, we're lucky to have lots of roof space here, so we've got the potential to use it to collect loads of rainwater.

We can use some of it on the garden and some of it for the building work on our other barns. I'm also interested in investigating whether we could use any of it in the house - either for washing or even - after filtering it - for drinking.

But one thing's for sure - we should certainly never run out of water for the garden again!



    We can do filter rainwater for household use in South Africa.

  2. In Australia, tank water has traditionally been used in country areas. We have tanks here that collect rainwater which we use for everything in the house...and I regularly top them up with water from the creek at the back. We don;t filter...and have not suffered...but I do offer to boil it for visitors.

  3. Thanks Hazel, that's really reassuring to hear. People are so squeamish here about drinking water that hasn't been mains treated. Be so nice to be providing our own drinking water!

    And Elephant's eye - wow, your water kit looks dead snazzy! Just wish you were a bit closer. Be great to do something about greywater recycling too..

  4. How ingenious! Rain barrels are so expensive. I need to research the availability of IBCs.

  5. Where did you get your wonderful IBCs from? The only ones I have seen are WAY more expensive than that. Rainwater recycling makes so much sense - I think it should be compulsory on new builds, particularly in the South. The government could make a huge difference here. I am loving following your adventures, really inspirational.

  6. I'm with Hazel. I'm in Australia on tank water only, and we don't filter it for drinking. People make too big a fuss about having everything sterilised these days!

    Those IBCs are translucent, though, and will let light through. That would become a problem for drinking water. Light allows algae to grow - you will get a green layer on the inside of the container. If you have a way to paint or cover them to make them light-proof, it'll increase the quality of the water within.

  7. Darren - thanks, that's really good advice. I shall have to investigate how to darken them up.

    Janet, Girlsprout - we got them from a waste recycling company for the construction industry called There's also a company up in Wrexham called that sell them for around £50. Both companies will deliver, but for a fee of course.

    And definitely Janet - can't cost too much extra to stick some underground tanks in while you're building new houses. It'd make so much sense, especially in the poor old south east.

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  9. Now that's an intelligent way of recycling liquid food containers. You turned them into a rainwater tanks, which can be used in watering the garden. But aside from the watering the garden, these rainwater tanks can also be used in other things.

  10. What a useful site and great shared about Rainwater tank Australia, Cheers author
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