Our Gravity Flow Water System – Part 2

We had the basics of our gravity flow watering system set up and the 1,100 gallon water storage tank was already full.  We needed another tank!  Since the first one was installed behind the tool shed, we figured we would use that one as our main “gathering” tank.  We siphon the water from that first tank when it was full to the second tank that we would put closer to the garden.  The second tank would be our “delivery” tank and would be the one the timers and watering lines would be connected to.

So we went online to check out prices and found that Tractor Supply was the cheapest in the area for what we wanted, and once an area near the orchard was prepared, we went down to our local Tractor supply and bought another 1,100 gallon water storage tank.  Again, it fit easily into the back of the truck.  We tied that tank down to the truck with lots of rope and straps, then set out on our merry way up to the property.

Unfortunately, it was a very windy day.  Instead of hearing the ropes and tie-downs sing to us, as was our experience with the first tank, this time it was scary.  We took the back roads and kept away from the highway, just in case.  An empty tank is surprisingly lightweight in spite of it’s large size, and the wind was catching the tank and blowing it to and fro.  We stopped and checked our ropes after a few miles and everything seemed to be okay, so we cautiously continued on our way.  Then a huge gust of wind hit the truck and the tank and, as quick as a wink, the tank tore through the ropes and went sailing across the road.  We took the back roads because the traffic was usually light, but as luck would have it a car was coming from the opposite direction just as the tank went free and was nearly hit.  I could see the whites of that poor guy’s eyes!  We stopped the truck and looked around to see if the guy was okay. He had pulled over to the side (probably to check his underwear) but then suddenly took off.  We were expecting to at least apologize, but he didn’t give us the chance.  So, if you are out there and recognize yourself —  we are so sorry for probably giving you the scare of your life!

The tank itself was scratched up a bit, but really was not harmed at all.  It took a bit of doing, but we got it back up on the truck and this time used twice as much rope and tie-downs and bungees and come-alongs and whatever else we could find!  Luckily we made it up to the future homestead without any more incidents.

The second tank near the orchard, which is fed water from the first tank behind the tool shed.

The second tank near the orchard, which is fed water from the first tank behind the tool shed.

Once the tank was set, we needed to figure out a system to get the water from the tank to the trees.  Ray devised two manifold systems from PVC pipes and fittings.  The manifold  was fed water from the tank by a short hose and then the manifold divided up the water into 5 or 6 separate hoses that each went to a tree.  This worked great.  But now we had to find a timer turn on the whole system when we weren’t there.  Believe it or not, with all the new hype on rainwater systems and such, it’s hard to find a timer that will work with little to no pressure!  Seriously, look at most of the timers you can find at your local box stores or even online – most require at least 10 pounds of pressure.  You don’t get 10 pounds of pressure from rain barrels or most rainwater systems.  To get water pressure from rainwater, you need to elevate the storage tank.  For each foot of height you get 0.43 PSI (pounds per square inch) of pressure.  So to be able to get the required 10 psi, we would have to raise our water storage tank about 22 feet.  That is why most municipal water storage towers are so tall.

The hose from the tank delivers water to a manifold Ray devised from PVC pipes and fittings, which divides the water into 5 smaller hoses, each leading to a tree.

The hose from the tank delivers water to a manifold Ray devised from PVC pipes and fittings, which divides the water into 5 smaller hoses, each leading to a tree.

Luckily, while doing his research on the internet, Ray discovered a water timer that works on 0 pressure!  He bought two of the Gilmour zero pressure battery timer at Drip Works (please see note below)  and we have been very pleased.  Now our irrigation system is complete and the orchard is watered whether we are there or not.  Isn’t convenience wonderful!    Posted at Small Footprint Fridays

This shows two of the Gilmour zero water pressure battery timers on the tank by the orchard.  When the timer turns on, the water flows down the hose, to the manifold, then is delivered to each tree individually.  Cool!

This shows two of the Gilmour zero water pressure battery timers on the tank by the orchard. When the timer turns on, the water flows down the hose, to the manifold, then is delivered to each tree individually. Cool!

NOTE:  I got a heads-up today that my link to Drip Works for the no pressure timer no longer works.  On further investigation, I found out why….. unfortunately, Drip Works no longer sells these no pressure timers!  Why?  Because Gilmour no longer makes them! 🙁   🙁 

NOTE:  Hooray!  DripWorks now has the Toro Zero Pressure Battery Operated Timer.  It isn’t digital like the old Gilmour one (which might actually be a good thing) but costs about the same!  You can use it on rain barrels and such because it does not need water pressure to open the gate valve – the battery does that!  Yes!  Here is the link:   http://www.dripworks.com/category/s?keyword=TOZPT           This will bring you directly to the dripworks page that sells this Toro ZPT (zero pressure timer).  At the time of this writing – September 12, 2013 – the cost is $35.95.

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10 thoughts on “Our Gravity Flow Water System – Part 2

  1. I had to laugh about the guy coming the other way when the tank flew off. Luckily, no one got hurt. That was some clever engineering to get the tank, delivery system and timers set up for auto watering. One more piece of infrastructure in place. Great job!

    • Thanks Ken. Everything seems to be working quite well at this point. Ray is a pretty good engineer, if I say so myself!

  2. “He had pulled over to the side (probably to check his underwear)”…
    I about choked on my dinner at this point, haha. Love your whole water system – been looking to do something like this but at a much smaller scale.

    • We are actually doing a smaller scale one for the walnut trees, which are on a different part of our property. We just found a 305 gallon water tank on Craigslist for cheap and hooked it up to the walnut trees with the drip line and a timer. The tank won’t be fed by rainwater because we don’t have a structure by it yet, but eventually our house will be built by the trees and the rainwater collection from the house will feed into that tank and the tanks for our garden. Thanks for stopping by. I will be over to check out your site!

  3. Hello! What type of irrigation are you using in your orchard? Is it drip or microdrip irrigation?
    Thank you,
    Lisa

    • It’s just gravity drip system using three battery powered zero pressure timers. Each timer delivers water from the water storage tank through drip line to the trees and the artichokes. Right now one timer takes care of 5 trees, another takes care of the artichokes and the last timer takes care of the remaining 5 trees. We have another system on a different part of our property where we have planted two walnut trees. There we have a 300 gallon water storage tank, one timer and drip line to each tree.

  4. Hi Vickie,

    Are the toro timer models working out for you? I’ve been searching for a low-pressure timer and they seem to get mixed reviews. Would love to know how they’ve worked out for you. Thanks!

    • Hello, Lela. Sorry it took me so long to answer your question – it somehow got buried in spam. Anyway, to answer, no, we haven’t used the Toro yet. We purchased one as a back-up to our Gilmour timers and, fortunately, haven’t had to use it yet! Hubby says that it looks pretty comparable, and since we don’t really have much choice (it’s hard to find zero pressure water timers) we will have to deal with any problems as they arise. If you get one, let me know what you think. Or if you find something else out there, please let me know. Thanks for stopping by, Lela!

  5. Would I need a device to bring up my pressure I have 112 ft building on 10ft elevation to gravity flow to garden with pvc pipe. Can you help me! Linda

    • Hello, Linda. Hmmmmm… not sure really what you are asking. Your water storage tank is 10 feet higher than your garden? I need more specifics to be able to help you, even though I am really no expert. We have had to learn some of these things the hard way, with trial and error… sometimes lots of error! Let me know more about your system and I might be able to help. Thanks

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