Now that we had an orchard we had to figure out a way to water the trees. Since we are striving to be as sustainable as possible, we decided to collect rainwater during the fall and winter and store it in large water storage tanks for spring and summer irrigation. The metal roof of the tool shed was an ideal rainwater collector, all we needed to install were the rain gutters and a large storage tank. The gutters were the easy part. We bought everything at our local box store and installed them, including the leaf guards, in one weekend.
The hard part was constructing a pad for the water storage tank. We knew we wanted to put it behind the tool shed, which meant digging a level area large enough and deep enough for the tank to sit below the level of the gutters. This was necessary to ensure gravity flow of the rainwater from the metal roof top, into the gutters, then the down-spouts and into the top of the water storage tank.Once we had the area dug to our satisfaction (and to the specifications of width and height listed for the tank we wanted to buy), we framed up an area large enough to hold the tank, along with three sides to hold the dirt away from the tank, and poured concrete in three separate pours. After the concrete was poured Ray installed landscaping timbers as retaining walls on the two sides exactly the same way he did when we built the spot for the trailer (see here). We used concrete blocks for the back wall simply because this was the wall that would have to hold back most of the dirt.
Once the pad was completed we bought an 1,100 gallon water storage tank at an irrigation supply store. Thank goodness this tank size fit exactly into the back of our F-150 pick-up truck, so we were able to haul it up to the property without much trouble and without having to pay a delivery fee. We had tied the whole thing down pretty securely in the back of the truck and while we were driving down the highway those ropes and tie-downs were singing to us in the wind! It was a happy song as they resonated, thrunged and whistled all the way up to our future homestead, and Ray and I laughed almost the whole way.
- Pouring a Concrete Pad After we dug away what seemed like a mountainside (just kidding) we framed out an area just a little larger than the tank (we checked the specs first!) and began to pour a concrete pad upon which the tank would sit.
- Retaining Wall We had to start building the retaining wall on this side ASAP because a rainstorm made the hillside a bit unstable and we were getting a lot of mud on the concrete. Ray built this retaining wall the same way he build the retaining wall for the trailer site.
- Concrete Blocks We decided to place concrete blocks along the back side of the wall because this wall would have to bear the weight of snow and mud, keeping it away from the tank area. We placed rebar in the concrete pad which extended up both courses of concrete blocks, just to ensure those blocks don't break free or slide. Once the blocks were set we filled them with concrete.
- The Second Retaining Wall Getting ready to install the second retaining wall.
- Done All done and ready for the water storage tank!
- Bringing in the Tank Luckily, this 1,100 gallon water storage tank fit almost exactly into the back of our F150 pick-up! With numerous tie-downs, lots of rope and some come-alongs, we were able to haul it up ourselves and avoided the delivery fee.
- Ready for Rain The tank fit perfectly! Now all we needed was some rain!
Once the tank was placed in it’s new home and everything was set up, it only took a few rainstorms to fill up the entire tank! In fact, after a month we had to remove the down-spouts and put the lid on the tank as it was completely full and gushing over! It was very obvious that after this tank was full, we needed another tank!
But Wait, There’s More! So stay tuned but sit tight! That story is coming up in my next post!
UPDATE: For Gravity Flow Water System Part 2, Click HERE
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