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Using a dug well for rainwater catchment?  RSS feed

 
Rw Wood
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Location: Seneca Falls, NY
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My property is connected to town water for domestic use, but I'd like to start storing rainwater and snow melt for irrigation and watering animals. There is a dug well on the property that was used prior to the arrival of town water that maintains water level about eight to ten feet below ground level. Would it be feasible to pipe runoff into this well? That is, would it be apt to fill up or would I simply be dumping the runoff directly into the water table without it percolating through the soil?

Normally in spring, much of the area I want to use for gardens, etc. is pretty sloppy due to the property being pretty flat and without much in the way of drainage. Most of the time, having enough water isn't an issue, but occasionally we get a very dry summer, and as I said I want the extra water for animals and irrigation when needed.

Thanks.
 
Dave Burton
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Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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I think groundwater banking may be something to look into. The idea is to store water underground during times of excess and use groundwater of other reserves in times of drought.
 
Rw Wood
Posts: 18
Location: Seneca Falls, NY
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Groundwater banking may be useful in areas where the aquifer is depleted, such as Texas and California, but here in the Finger Lakes of NY, at present we don't have a depleted aquifer. Additionally, the clay soil would make the pond approach to banking impractical and putting in a well down into the aquifer would be ok if I needed water, since there's plenty, but not for injecting it.

I need some surface collection approach, and I thought that using an existing well might be possible and would save the cost of purchasing or building a tank of any size.

Thanks for your suggestion, though.
 
John Wolfram
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Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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Rw Wood wrote:I need some surface collection approach, and I thought that using an existing well might be possible and would save the cost of purchasing or building a tank of any size..

If you store the water underground, you'll have to pay for a system to pump it back up when needed. For my property, I'm storing rainwater in ten 275 gallon IBC totes that I picked up for about $40 each. I picked up free cinder blocks / bricks from construction sites and have them elevated for pressure.
 
Rw Wood
Posts: 18
Location: Seneca Falls, NY
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John, that's a great price for the IBCs. I haven't seen them around here for less than $100. As to the cost of pumping the water from underground, I'm looking at having to install at least one pump, no matter what I do, so that's already in the equation.

Thanks.
 
chad Christopher
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Location: Pittsburgh PA
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Something I'm coming up for, that you may be interested in. A weekend water management course, only about an hour south of you.

http://fingerlakespermaculture.org/?page_id=3308
 
Tim Malacarne
Posts: 226
Location: South central Illinois, USA
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My brother once told me that free advice is usually worth what you pay for it, but... For my part, you'd be contaminating the water table with surface water, and potentially creating a health hazard. Much better to mebbe buy a small submersible pump and pump outta the well as needed... Just my 2 cents, good luck!
 
Rw Wood
Posts: 18
Location: Seneca Falls, NY
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Free or not, thanks for offering your take on my situation. I'm more concerned with how to deal with the surface water than getting it back out of the well. I have a shallow well pump (currently not hooked up) that i can use to get water out of the well, but at certain times of the year, primarily in the Spring, much of my 5 acres is pretty sloppy. I can't, for example, begin to plant my garden, even frost tolerant stuff, because it's so muddy. I've considered putting in drainage, but there isn't a spot that's substantially lower on the site to drain to, and I really would like to store that water for using for irrigation during those dry summers we sometimes get, as well as for watering livestock. The only thing other than the well that i've come up with is to drain to a relatively small sump tank, and then pump up into a larger above ground storage tank.

Having more projects than i can shake a stick at and living on less than an inexaustible source of money doesn't make this or any of the other projects easy.

Thanks.
 
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