• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • jordan barton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Leigh Tate
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Greg Martin
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Jay Angler
gardeners:
  • Nancy Reading
  • Mike Barkley
  • Christopher Shepherd

Are you capturing rainwater?

 
pollinator
Posts: 314
Location: Nevada
13
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If so, or have tried to do so, I would like to know about your experiences - success and failures.  Don't be afraid to share details.
 
gardener
Posts: 842
417
4
hugelkultur monies foraging trees composting toilet cooking bike solar wood heat rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I do have a couple 1500 gallon cisterns set up to collect rainwater off my roof.  I must admit I haven't really put it to good use.  One issue is that the first flush diverter system I bought for it really wasn't a good design and requires me to fuss and rework it every year at least in order to get any water diverted to the cisterns.  I had intended to use this collected water in my garden beds, but find I'm just too lazy to do so.  I happen to live in an area that gets a fair amount of water anyway and so having made new raised hugelkulture beds I don't really need to water them.  (they might do better though if I did.)

I was also thinking of them as a last ditch back up water supply, which they do function as during the non frozen times of the year.  

I should really plan to put some effort into fixing the whole system so I'd actually use it since I already have a fair amount of resources invested in it.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1898
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
822
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I live in Hawaii where at least 60,000 homes use catchment water as there primary water source. Considering so many homes are not permitted and try to keep low visibility when it comes to government officials, the actual number of homes is probably 10 to 20 thousand more.  On my own area, well over half the homes are on catchment, including myself.

I have multiple water storage tanks and aim to maintain at least 20,000 gallons on site. My capacity is greater when all the tanks are full.

Since I pass by the county water taps several days a week, I gather my drinking water from the county taps. It’s easier and cheaper that way, and besides, the water tastes great. Otherwise, I use catchment water for everything else.
 
pollinator
Posts: 125
Location: Clackamas County, OR (zone 7)
72
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a 2500 gallon cistern that I fill with water from my shed roof for use in the garden. I was going to implement a first flush system, but I never got around to it. It seems to be working fine without it. I do have a very fine nylon mesh cloth filter on the downspouts that catches bigger stuff. I also have an inline filter for the water that goes to the drip irrigation system. I want to say it is 200 micron, but I dont quite remember.

I have maybe 1500 sq ft of garden, and this last summer it did not hardly rain for about 90 days. I think we got a cumulative total of .05 inches in that time. I think I would need 4 cisterns to meet my total usage in a drought year. Thankfully, there is a year-round spring on the property, so I pump water up to my tank with a solar powered pump.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2596
Location: Bendigo , Australia
169
dog gear plumbing earthworks bee building homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Have a look at the permies link in my signature below.
It has detailed information about catching rainfall.

David if you send me images I may be able to help you with the first flush unit
 
David Huang
gardener
Posts: 842
417
4
hugelkultur monies foraging trees composting toilet cooking bike solar wood heat rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John C Daley wrote:
David if you send me images I may be able to help you with the first flush unit



Thanks John.  What I've got is a commercial unit that it would seem was designed to need ongoing money input to maintain in order to replace some fancy washers that are designed to swell up when wet eventually shutting off the first flush pipe and diverting the flow to the cisterns.  It seems the washers go bad after about a season.  I do now have a simple solution to fix it.  I just have to get motivated to actually do it!  I appreciate the offer of help though.  :)  
 
gardener
Posts: 2324
Location: South of Capricorn
982
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've got a low tech system with barrels connected to my gutters in the back of the house and barrels in the front of the house that need to be manually filled from buckets when it rains. The water is used for watering plants, washing hands after gardening, rinsing garden stuff, occasionally animal drinking water. All barrels are either tightly closed or sealed with screens to keep mosquitoes (major problem here) out. Cost me little and works great.
 
John C Daley
pollinator
Posts: 2596
Location: Bendigo , Australia
169
dog gear plumbing earthworks bee building homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tereza, hand filling barrels seems time consuming.
Can you connect the barrels with a pipe?
 
John C Daley
pollinator
Posts: 2596
Location: Bendigo , Australia
169
dog gear plumbing earthworks bee building homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
David, why not replace the unit with one that has a floating ball.
Your sounds to complex to actually work!
 
Tereza Okava
gardener
Posts: 2324
Location: South of Capricorn
982
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John C Daley wrote:Tereza, hand filling barrels seems time consuming.
Can you connect the barrels with a pipe?


Alas, the water in the front comes off an awning and there's no way to attach a gutter without it looking like an absolute Rube Goldberg apparatus. Luckily it only takes a good rainfall or two (180 L barrel) and I've got some willing volunteers. :-)
 
David Huang
gardener
Posts: 842
417
4
hugelkultur monies foraging trees composting toilet cooking bike solar wood heat rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John C Daley wrote:David, why not replace the unit with one that has a floating ball.
Your sounds to complex to actually work!



Exactly!  That's the simple fix.  I should be able to fairly easily remove the lower section of my units and install a floating ball thing.  The top part of the units do have rather nice screens to remove major debris.
 
Posts: 13
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, I have 2 55 gallon rainwater barrels, and one 310 gallon.  Each collects from a greenhouse or shed roof.  They are put away for winter now because if they freeze when it’s below zero, they could crack.
 
Posts: 14
1
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes and only recently.  We have 3 x 2500 gallon storage tanks and collect off of a metal pole barn roof.  This water is strictly for irrigation purposes, we have a shared well that we use for drinking water.  With the topology we were lucky and able to have all the gutter downspouts run underground to a central location where it is pumped up to the tanks.  There will be shallow well pump to push the water out to the irrigation valves for all the raised beds and yard sprinkler system.  So far, after a week of collecting are at about 3000 gallons.  So far I haven't found any big "gotchas" that I need to resolve but i'd imagine I will eventually.  As you can see from the photos on the thread we were successful in not creating a "jungle gym" of pipes running all over.  I'll be putting up a fence in a few weeks to keep "prying eyes" off the system and will be installing the pumps and the equipment to get the water out to the 16 zone irrigation system for the garden in the spring.  Keep watch on the thread for updates.  Currently I'm building the foundation and getting ready to assemble our 12' x 16'  greenhouse.

You can check out my build thread here.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1168
Location: Southern Oregon
327
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have two 1500 gallon tanks that collect rainwater off of my roof. One of the tanks cracked last year, I've tried to fix it but everyone a fix another pops up all along one seam. I'm going to replace it both with 2500 gallon tanks, and move the one good 1500 gallon tank to the chicken coop roof. No other problems with them. They both have first flush diverters. This early in the rainy season I don't have them capture, just drain to specific areas. I will close the valves in a couple months. We plan on adding more tanks to our solar building and my daughters house when we can afford the tanks.

 
Posts: 91
Location: Michigan, USA
10
hunting chicken ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Much of my livestock setup is watered with rainwater when the weather is right.  I have the edge of the barn lined with buckets "rescued" and repurposed.  These are used to water the chickens and top off the cow water tank.
The cow water tank is right under the edge of the barn, and I made a makeshift gutter that directs most of the rainfall directly into the tank.  When it gets low, water can be added from the aforementioned buckets.  
The turkey pen has a 55 gal tank under the eaves.  I fill their water from that when it has water in it.  
This saves me a lot of work hauling water or running hoses, plus it uses a "free" resource (rainwater) and the buckets around the barn reduce the erosion that has done damage to the barn in the past.  
It also grows lots of great mosquitoes... I've found that the best buckets are the squarish cat litter buckets with the lids that fold open.  Close them when they are full, and any mosquito larvae that emerge die in the bucket without escaping to drink, and no new eggs are laid.
The only downside might be plastic materials leaching into the animals' drinking water.
 
John C Daley
pollinator
Posts: 2596
Location: Bendigo , Australia
169
dog gear plumbing earthworks bee building homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jason the link takes you to Ebay
 
pollinator
Posts: 382
Location: Virginia
142
books chicken cooking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have a well but catch rainwater mostly for garden use.  In the summer we often have long dry stretches like last summer where we had one hour of rain in six weeks.  

We have a 55 gallon barrel that collects water from the gutters.  We dug a trench to the garden for a hose to connect 2 water totes (275 gallons each I think).  It’s only a slight difference in height but the barrel equally fills the totes.  Hubby hooked up a pump to a battery to make it easy to have good water pressure which made a huge difference in how long it takes to water.  Our previous set up was 2 other 55 gallon barrels instead of the totes but that regularly got used up and wasn’t enough. One barrel got turned into a homemade chicken plucker so the change to the water totes was a complete win!
 
Jason Nault
Posts: 14
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks!  Corrected!

John C Daley wrote:Jason the link takes you to Ebay

 
If you look closely at this tiny ad, you will see five bicycles and a naked woman:
Pre-order for "Tour of Wheaton Labs, the Movie!"
https://permies.com/w/tour
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic