"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

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Once bitten, twice shy...

We experienced a break in our water supply at the end of December, at the hottest time of the year.

The mains pipe, from Overberg Water, our water supplier, got damaged by a farmer's tractor, which resulted in our being without water for 5 l-o-n-g, h-o-t days.

So - extra rain water barrels were ordered with a dash of speed LOL

And RMan, and John, our local labourer, threw two slabs to house the tanks - one in the front, and one at the back side.
I wasn't sure about cutting it into the ground,
but it does make sense.  If ever the tank is
empty, the "walls" will prevent it blowing over.

The slab before the rainwater tank was installed
As the front tank is right at our entrance / patio, we sunk it into the ground slightly - to prevent it being "in your face" when you arrive.
On the right is the rain water tank connected
to our drainpipe.  The one on the left is
connected to our mains water supply.
We placed another one at the back of the house, next to an existing rain barrel.  However, this extra one is connected to our mains water...
The pump is dual purpose.  RMan has installed
it in such a way that it can pump the rainwater
up to a higher storage tank, or, at the flick of a
lever, it will supply fresh water to the house.
And RMan has installed a small 35lt / minute, 350 watt water pump so that if the water is ever cut off again, we don't have to schlep heavy black plastic boxes of water into the house in order to do the washing up / have a wash, etc.  We can now just pump it in and carry on with our lives as normal.  And the wattage of the pump is perfect for use with our solar system.
Our 5000 lt rainwater and freshwater storage
tanks - almost a pigeon pair LOL  What
you can't see is the pipe from the tap to
the top of the freshwater tank to create
the circulation"
Finally, clever RMan - the water pump is a "flooded" type of in-line pump, which means that it has to be filled with water in order to work, and not burn out.  RMan has linked another pipe directly from an outside tap to the top of the tank, so that when the pump is on, the tap will be turned on, and if no water is currently being used inside the house, water will be fed back to the tank via this open tap, thereby causing the required flooding / circulation, and not wasting a precious drop through just having a tap running for no reason.
The picture explains what RMan constructed
Now, I would never have thought of that!  My sole contribution to it all is...
My rainwater filter
... a rain water filter, which consists of a scrap piece of 80% shadecloth, which   has been inserted inside the lid, between the downpipe and the tank.  I wondered how effective it would be...
The proof is in the pudding, or should that be
the debris?
... as you can see, it had already caught loads of bird crud and debris which obviously collected in the gutters - and we haven't hit the rainy season yet.  That doesn't make it drinkable, but it certainly should help with the quality of water which we're storing.

Yipeeeeeeee!  We now have 20 000 ltrs of rain water, and 5 000 ltrs of fresh water - on call - for whenever we need it. 


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Hurray for you and great job well done.


Kris said...

What a great screen cover for that rainwater tank. You'll keep the chunks out of the water and I'm sure, it being shade cloth, will last a long time, even with your fierce sun. You are so darn clever, Dani.

Oh - Rman did a nice job too. *grin* ;-D

Dani said...

Lorraine - Thanks. Another item off the to-do list - ALWAYS a good feeling :)

Dani said...

Kris - LOL RMan did a fantastic job! Yeah, the shade cloth should last a while, and then a while more too... :)

Modern Day Redneck said...

Congratulations on your new system expansion, they look great. I also need to add a couple of more but those tanks around here cost about $1000.00 each.
I didn't see a first flush system on your down spouts, do you have one?
Great job, I am envious.

Dani said...

MDR - Thanks. 5000lt tanks here cost +/- ZAR3500.00 ($386.00) each.

Nope - haven't heard of it before, and haven't seen a first flush system in South Africa either - so didn't give it a thought. This water will be used solely for our vegetables / trees, and making soap :)

Modern Day Redneck said...

What it does it keeps your tanks clean to where the fine particles that get through your screening and created build up. The first flush makes it where you don't have to clean your tanks as often.
You can search my blog for the one I built. My design was adopted in the Arizona Rain Water Conservation Commission. I thought it was pretty exciting.
Just a thought.

Dani said...

Cool - thanks MDR. If we can make it ourselves, even better. Off to search your blog now... :)

DFW said...

Great job Dani (& RMan)!

Linda said...

Very organised! And that filter makes me think! We don't have a filter between the roof and tank.

Bee Girl said...

This is awesome! Good job being proactive!

Dani said...

DFW - Thanks :)

Dani said...

Linda - Yeah - I didn't fancy the thought of all that bird crud landing in the tank...

Can one contract Bird Flu through their droppings?

Dani said...

Bee Girl - It's inherent in me - unfortunately... ;) Why sort out tomorrow what can be done today?

Quinn said...

Congratulations! That is a huge and well-thought-out project, and you both must feel pretty good about it! Impressive :)

Dani said...

Quinn - Thanks - and all of the recognition must go to RMan - he's the brains behind the installation.

Me - I'm the finer details one... :)

Leigh said...

Lovely! A need really pushes things along, doesn't it? Looks absolutely fantastic. I know you're pleased as punch.

Dani said...

Leigh - Necessity is the mother of invention LOL Thanks - yeah, very chuffed :)