"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Water security


With the higher than normal temperatures we have already experienced this summer, we purchased an additional two 5 000lt rainwater tanks and, against all logic, RMan threw an enormous slab so that we could position them by our fruit trees.  "Against all logic" because that position is far away from the gutters which collect the rain water.

But, we had a plan ;)

They will be filled by the rainwater that enters the tanks by the house and which will then be pumped up to them via our electric pump once our solar batteries are charged and are on "float" stage.
The two new tanks - over thereeeee in the distance
Digging that +/- 45mtrs of connecting pipe into the ground wasn't easy - the ground is rock hard already.

The solar panel has been concreted into the ground
to prevent it being blown away during the south
easter.  Ditto the placement of the panel on the
western side of the tanks.
We had an extra solar panel, and an old Phocos 40 Amp charge controller, so, after purchasing a 12 volt water pump (roughly ZAR800.00), RMan set about connecting it all up. 
A lidded black storage tub has become our "solar power" point by those two tanks.
All the solar paraphernalia housed within the
black box
The deep cycle battery, the small Phocos charge controller and the 12volt pump fit perfectly inside the tub.  Small holes were drilled in the upper wall of the tub for ventilation.  (The holes were purposely drilled too small to allow snakes or rodents to take up residence inside the tub.  You don't need that kind of surprise on opening the lid.) 
The outlet pipes leading to the 12 volt pump inside
the black tub / box
RMan joined the pipe connecting all 6 of the old rain water tanks to the top inlet valve on the new 2 tanks.

Then, the front bottom outlets on the 2 new tanks were joined and connected to the 12 volt pump.  
12mm pipe coming out of the pump and leading to...
But, the length of the pipe leading from the 12 volt pump to the (1) lemon trees) and (2) fruit trees / grape vines was just too long to properly water the trees - they got a mediocre sprinkling not a deep watering.

So,we have installed two valves on the 12 volt pump outlet pipe.  That way we can either water only the lemon trees, or only the fruit trees / grape vines.
...the two valves.  The valve on the left
leads to the lemon trees, the one on the right
to the fruit trees / grape vines
Now, at last, we will be able to give the trees / vines on the "orchard" line a proper good soaking once a week.
The pipe layout to the lemon and fruit
tree orchard
Using gravity to water the lemon trees only took 3 - 4 hours of hand holding / moving the pipe every week.  The new setup means that all the (lemons, fruit and grape vines) will literally all be deep watered within 1.5 hours max.

Now, we just have to figure out how to prevent the mousebirds from eating all the fruit... ;)

26 comments:

  1. Can your hose stay in place all year round? I'm postponing bringing in my 300' of heavy rubber hose, but not much longer as two nozzles have already popped apart due to overnight ice. Soon I'll be back to hauling buckets every day.

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    1. Quinn - Our temperatures very, very rarely drop below 1 - 2oC so worrying about water in the pipes freezing isn't a problem for us.

      The downside of having pipes that aren't affected by freezing weather is that we'll never get snow falling on our smallholding... :( lol

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  2. I love all the solar pump set up you have, one day I hope to have solar powered pumps on the water tanks :-)

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    1. Dawn - The pumps are brilliant - they save time, help with the watering, and, apart from the initial cost, don't cost us a cent to operate ;)

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  3. What a nice set up you have and I agree with Mum...very clever.

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    1. MsB - It's all RMan's work and concept. He's the clever little puppy ;)

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  4. Scamp dog looks happiest! :-)

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    1. R - I'm honoured to have you comment on my blog :D

      Yeah, Scallywags was chilling very happily in the shade of the tanks whilst RMan was busy. But he's getting old and slow (almost 17 years old in Jan 2016)

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    2. Looks like he was supervisin and checking that all was done to his spec. Looks great Dani, you're set up for summer, that's for sure. But last week I saw snow forecast for the Ceres area, so we may just get a surprise.

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    3. giggletreedesign - Yup, he supervises most of what we do ;)

      Wasn't that snow weird - in late November?!?

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  5. That is such a great idea........when you have solved the mouse bird problem please let me know. We are at war and the mouse birds are winning!!!!!

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    1. TBHInc - Welcome - and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

      Will anyone ever solve the mouse bird problem...? But, I also noticed when I walked up to check on the progress of our plums yesterday, that the Cape Whiteye's were thoroughly enjoying their feast - so much so that I could almost catch one!

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  6. That sounds like a good plan. Your location is ideal for solar power, and as I recall most of the things you need you are self sustaining in, like water.

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    1. Harry - The way things are going in this country a lot of the "services" are vulnerable with the current ripe corruption. Whatever we can do to mitigate that the less we have to complain about ;)

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  7. I'm so impressed with what the things y'all do there. I like your response to Harry. Rather than just worry about the reliability of those upon whom we're dependent, it's better to look for ways to lessen or eliminate that dependency.

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    1. Bill - Exactly. What is the point of complaining about something - if you can make a plan then that is a more pro-active reaction, rather than just knee jerk complaining... ;)

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  8. you know I love your pictures with diagrams on. it really helps me understand. cant wait to get the solar panels on the garage roof here. we already have a special cylinder for hot water.

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    1. Sol - It's the only way I can explain what we are doing so that everyone else understands what I mean ;)

      Lucky you - solar geyser :)

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  9. Water is such a precious commodity everywhere these days..Our fruit trees are irrigated from water which is piped by gravity from our dam. How many acres do you have there? I hope you don't mind me asking but it seems your house is built furthest from the road...Do you find that a pro or a con in the scheme of things. I am glad you linked to a photo of the mousebird..it brought back memories of the years I spent in RSA, the are pretty birds even though they take your fruit. We have 15 cherries trees fruiting atm and it is the Rosella's eating them here in Tasmania.

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    1. Cath - Oh, how lucky you are to have a dam uphill from your fruit trees :)

      We are on 2.2 hA - 5.44 acres.

      Cath, we built our house on the highest point of the land, which happened to be furthest from the road, in order to obtain the maximum view of the mountains / valleys in the land in front of our plot. Also, the area closest to the road has "hollows" which tend to become waterlogged after heavy rain - which is not ideal for foundations, nor keeping the house clean of sticky clay mud... Lastly, the road, when it is dry, is extremely dusty - and when our neighbour travels at speed down that road the dust flies everywhere. Having that dust accumulate in / on our house would be extremely irritating ;)

      Oh, I do so wish we could find cherry trees here. I have enquired everywhere, but there is a cartel which seems to be protecting them from public sales. RMan LOVES cherries lol

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  10. Dani,
    Thank you for the excellent detail. Great job. Best wishes to you, RMan, the kids and grands.

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    1. Jane - Thank you, my friend :) And reciprocal wishes to you and yours.

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  11. What brand of 12V pump are you using?

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    1. Tjaart - Welcome and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. It is a Pakpump model 100-60-20 8Amp 60psi. RMan purchsed it from Jerrycar in Johannesburg ;)

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Thank you for taking the time to comment - it makes my day and removes the "loneliness' of sitting at my screen blogging supposedly to myself ;)