Rain water storage

Rain water storage is one of the new imperatives; the cost, the reliability and the quality all demand we harvest it and put it into tanks and reservoirs.

An underground brick reservoir.

Rarely does a day go by when we don’t read in the press or hear on the news that a team is being sent to fix some water problem, that we live in a dry country and we must all learn to use less water. Add to that woes about ageing infrastructure, water leaks and raw sewage running into Midmar Dam and you’d think we had an insoluble problem.

The environs of our city has an average rainfall of about 1000mm, or one metre of rain. The chances are, if you are reading this column, that you have a 200 square metre roof, or more. That means that 200 cubic metres of water lands on your roof every year, which is more than enough for the needs of your home and garden. All you have to do is to find a way to collect and store it. It’s not rocket science.

This week the Natal Witness published a lengthy report about water security. There was mention of a seven billion rand annual water loss due to poor governance, wastage, leakages and inefficient use and storage. Add to that pollution from mines, farms and burst sewage pipes and it seems an insurmountable problem.

Not so; ask any elderly person and they will tell you that their total water needs when they were children was supplied by rainwater collected in corrugated iron tanks. They never filtered or chlorinated the water; nor do we. Today it’s a lot simpler with easy access to UG110mm pipes, fibreglass tanks and a pump. R10,000 would do it using the cheapest options.

There are three options in tanks. Those of the JoJo type, fibreglass and a reservoir, increasing in price. You really need a minimum of 9,000 litres of storage; we have 25,000 litres and it rarely falls below half even in midwinter, providing all our needs including a twice weekly deep watering of the veggie patch.

I recommend fibreglass as it lasts indefinitely, and can be repaired if it’s broken by physical trauma; they are completely UV resistant. Ours is 33 years old and perfect. The underground reservoir, with a roof, is better as the water is much colder; bugs might thrive in above ground tanks.

You could do it yourself if you are handy, and there are plumbers around Hilton and PMB who specialise in doing it for you. You start with a network of underground sewage pipes, leading from your gutter downpipes to the lowest point on your property where the water will gravitate to your tanks or underground reservoir. From there you pump it into your home and garden.

Imagine if the state donated 240 million rand, a figure that is much bandied about in recent times, to water tanks. Two hundred million for the indigent would buy 40,000 tanks. R40 million for a R1000 rebate for tax payers would get another 40,000 city folk well on their way. A budget of seven billion rand, the amount lost every year, and the problem would be complete solved. Of course the state won’t, but you could do it.

Fibreglass rainwater tank.

Rain water storage

Rain water storage is for every home in South Africa.


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself, your family and friends, and Mother Earth for future generations. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books!

Here are the back issues.

  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa