water collection/storage

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I'm the wife of a just retired Marine. Right now we are renting, but plan to buy in a year. We are from (& have returned to) Indiana. When we do buy I (while my husband works) will have a garden & a small road side stand (working my way up to a market garden & greenhouse). Even if I would be lucky enough to have a water supply other then a well or city water (like a creek), you shouldn't use it in a summer drought. If I was to obay the water restrictions of a summer drought, I would need an alternative water supply for the garden, pasture for any livestock I might have (hopefully some kind of deer so I can offer frozen venison at my road-side stand), or anything else that would otherwise dry-up & die do to the restrictions on water.

Does anyone have some ideas on how to hold spring rains off the roofs? I thought of a water tower, & a few rain barrels under down spouts won't be enough. Even together I'd need a pump to fill the tower. Can you suggest an alternative water catching tank (much bigger then several rain barrels)? I could always pump it to a tower from there.


Wendy Lewis (aka. animalfarms)

-- Wendy Lewis (jwlewis@indy.net), April 24, 2000


Check into cisterns -- they used to be widely used, and are still in some use -- can be built to hold as much as you want, and can be built underground, which is sturdier and will keep the water cool.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), April 24, 2000.

Wendy, Kathleen is right. For large quantities of water you're going to need a cistern. A water tower would work if you could get the water pumped into it. But a great deal of construction would be required. You can buy pre-made cistern tanks and drop them in a hole. There are also ways to build in ground cisterns. You'll still need to pump out from the cistern and possibly in, depending on how your buildings are in relation to the tank. In ground tanks are also safer from freezing if it gets very cold in your part of Indianna. You could also check into ag chemical suppliers. They have lots of big tanks, probably none that could be buried, but could be spotted around on your property.

Do check carefully into your state laws before either investing a lot of money into deer or planning to spend your income from them. Meat selling of any sort is highly regulated. You probably would have to have them butchered at a shop with an inspector on site. Most small butcher shops can't afford that and are closing rapidly. You'd also have to have some serious refrigeration either at your stand or within reach. Venison can be especially tricky since the state is worried that poachers will pass off illegally taken deer as farm raised. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (ima_gerbil@hotmail.com), April 24, 2000.

o have 20 barrels with hoses connecting them in series and a small stocktank gives me over 1200 gallons of water not alot but if it would ever rain here sure comes in handy. i have thought to of getting one of those large above ground swimming pools wish i had bought the one at the yardsale last fall for 25 bucks. but as the others have said for a more stable hookup the burried cistern would be best.

-- gail fick (gef123@hotmail.com), April 25, 2000.

We use a 550 gallon poly tank to supply our drip irrigation system but we also have a creek near by and I pump water to the tank from there. I can not tell you how long the water lasts because we also use it to water with a hose, the tank is 18-20' above the garden at the top of a slope and that gives us a gravity system that works well. Poly tanks are relavtively cheap in the east, (add about $200 to the price where I am)I bought a 600 gallon tank from central tractor a few years ago for $235. they are light and can be rolled around, carried in a pickup truck and so forth.

-- Hendo (OR) (redgate@echoweb.net), April 25, 2000.

Hi, Wendy. It isn't uncommon around here for old houses to have big metal tanks for roof rain in the basement. We have an empty tank, about 500 gallons, in our basement from some past system. It would seem that they just funnelled the gutter rain into the tank. Down the road there's a house with their rain tank on the front porch.

-- Rachel (rldk@hotmail.com), April 25, 2000.

We have a 1000 gal tank rigged up next to our (big)garage to collect rain water. It's an interesting system where we have the tank sitting in it's own little "shed" and then we have rigged hoses that either a) feed into the adjacent bunkhouse where it is then sent through 2 filters for drinking water (it's pumped by hand into a double sink) or b) runs out of the bottom into a hose system that goes to the garden or barns. We have a control to divert the water either into the tank or into the regular gutter system.

We bought the tank in Coos Bay Oregon and drove it home on the back of a pickup. The tank was $300 and is lightweight, relatively speaking. Rumor has it out here that we are in for a hot (read: dry) summer, so I may be really greatful we took the trouble and initial expense to do this.

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), April 25, 2000.

Here are some links to plunder.

Cistern Rain Diverter http://www.rio.com/~plastmo/rbdivert.html

Lanka RWHF http://www.rainwaterharvesting.com/

'water filtration' http://www.answersleuth.com/enviro/water_filtration.shtml

I've got some more around here somewhere... email if you're interested.


-- j (jw_hsv@yahoo.com), April 25, 2000.

That's some good ideas. I really like the idea of the tank being made of plastic. What are cisterns made of?

As for the comment on deer: The only native deer in Indiana (to my knowledge) is whitetail. I would (upon getting a lisence to do so) get some Muntjac deer (stands 2ft tall), & some Reindeer. These don't jump like other types of deer, but run like horses & cattle. Also allowing me to use them as draft animals (no I don't mean like santa, ha ha ha, but like Lapp landers (a people somewhere in Russa)), & to have ordinary fencing. These two types of deer can't be mistaken for wild whitetail deer. And, any animal I have (& I want a few of all domestic livestock), I had intended to take to a state inspected plant for butchering, in order to meet state regulations for the road- side stand. I intended no lack of info, it was just not part of the original question.

I'm sorry for any miss information. Thanks for your answers.

Wendy Lewis (aka. animalfarms)

-- Wendy Lewis (jwlewis@indy.net), April 25, 2000.

Cistern is just a name for a large water storage tank. The ones above mentioned would all qualify, except maybe the linked barrels. They used to be made out of brick or block, mortared and sealed, or poured concrete (very strong, but expensive!). The plastic ones would be just as good, might not last ten lifetimes, but would have less chance of springing a leak, and, as mentioned, are light and relatively cheap.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), April 25, 2000.

I posted the following info elsewhere on this site so sorry for the repetition. I've seen 250 gallon tanks around. They are roughly cubical, have a large hole with screw-on lid on top and a valved outlet near the bottom. They are usually encased in a heavy gage galvanized tin skin or sometimes a cage. These are plastic tanks that can be had for $25 or less, sometimes free. I last saw them at a concrete place but have also seen them in paper mills. Keep your eyes open around places that use large quantities of chemicals or check out a scrapyard. If you get one or more I'd take them to a self- service car wash and hose them out really well before storing water in them. Then, once in place, fill with water, let it stand for a few days then sample and have the water tested just to play it safe.

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), April 25, 2000.

John, I think I would want to find out what exactly had been in a tank like that -- some chemicals are really really bad.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), April 26, 2000.

Kathleen: I couldn't agree more and it goes without saying. The tanks from the paper mills had kraft in them which is nothing more than wood pulp slurry. A little common sense goes along way to avoid making mistakes of that sort.

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), April 26, 2000.

They use the same type of tanks in the food industry. I have one of the 250 gallon ones. It arrived smelling of fruit punch. We rigged it with a float valve watering pan for the goats, and fill it from the barn gutter. I have another setup like this off if the chicken shed, with a 55 gallon barrel. for a heavy downpour, I set up a series of barrels with siphon hoses, to catch everything, and then pull the barrels out of the loop, one at a time, as the water gets used up. During last year's drought, I only had to break out the hose a few times to top it off.

-- Connie (connie@lunehaven.com), April 27, 2000.

The latest issue of the magazine, "Landscape Architect" has a good article on rain cachement which includes some good website references. I found the magazine at Barnes and Noble tonight.

-- Elizabeth Petofi (tengri@cstone.net), April 28, 2000.

My husband and I live on seven acres outside Lancaster, Ohio. Big barn, no animals, big garden and lots of flowers. He bought me a 650 gal. poly vinyl tank and it set next to the barn down spout. We also have a 300 gal. poly vinyl at one side of the pole barn and five 55gal. trash tanks on the other that are linked together. The main barn downspout goes under ground into a line that empties into out half acre pond. I'm so proud of myself because Countrywide gave me the inspiration and courage when my husband laughed at me for what i wanted. Go for the ideas. fran

-- fran disbennett (disbennett@msn.com), April 28, 2000.

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