Rain water storage

Rain water storage is one of the new-imperatives; the cost, reliability and quality all demand we harvest it. Then we have to figure out how to stockpile it; in tanks, reservoirs and even a converted swimming pool.

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 bone-dry country and we must all learn to use less.

Instead if we could just learn to make a plan, we have an ample supply falling like manna from the heavens for all our needs in most parts of the world. The underground rainwater reservoir is the matchmaker between the sky, our home and the garden.

No rain water storage means going without long showers at the end of hectic days; no luxurious, relaxing baths either and precious few vegetables from the garden during the long dry seasons.

An underground brick reservoir.

Add to that the woes about ageing infrastructure, water leaks and raw-sewage running into our dams; you’d think we have an unsolvable dilemma.

The environs of our city has an average rainfall of about 1000mm, or one metre of water. The chances are if you are reading this column that you have 200-squares of roof, or more.

That means that 200 kilolitres 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. Is it only farmers who can make a plan?

Have we not heard about lateral-thinking?

This week the Witness published a lengthy report about water security. There was mention of a seven billion rand annual loss due to poor governance, wastage and leakages; and inefficient use and storage. Add to that pollution from mines, farms and burst sewerage-pipes and it does indeed seem an insurmountable problem; it need not be so.

Ask any elderly person and he will tell you that his total needs when he was a child was probably supplied by rain collected in corrugated-iron tanks. They never filtered or chlorinated the water.

If he swallowed a fly it never killed him; nor would a few mosquito-larvae.

Today it’s a lot simpler with easy access to underground pipes, fibreglass-tanks and inexpensive filters; and a pump, of course. R10,000 would do it using the cheapest options.

There are three options in tanks. Those made of plastic, fibreglass or steel, increasing in price; and a reservoir, the cheapest of all. You really need a minimum of 9,000 litres of storage; we have 27 kl providing all our needs including a twice-weekly deep irrigation of the veggie patch. For two months in ten years we have been forced to use mains water.

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 40 years old and perfect. An underground reservoir with a roof is even better as the water is much colder. It is not really potable without boiling; bugs will thrive in warm conditions.

You could do it yourself if you are handy but there are plumbers who specialise in doing it for you. You start with a network of sewerage pipes leading from your gutter to a low point on your property; 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 M rand, a figure that is much bandied about in recent times to domestic water-storage. Two hundred million for the indigent would buy 40,000 tanks.

Another R40 million for a 1000-rand rebate for taxpayers would get a few tens of thousands of city folk well on their way.

A budget of seven billion rand, the amount lost every year would complete solve the problem. Of course the government won’t buy into this but you could.

Fibreglass rainwater tank.

Broad beans

Drying blanched broad beans

The broad bean is the queen of our garden; it's a rich source of vegetable protein and an important phytonutrient called L-dopa. But it grows in winter and more than any other vegetable needs an abundant supply of water.

The 50% rise in the price from the utility this year has killed gardening in the dry months; both for pleasure and those who desperately need homegrown food. Rain water storage is more important than ever.

Green beans have far less lectins than those that have been dried; those are the anti-nutrients that inhibit the absorption of minerals. They taste a lot nicer too.

So freezing broad beans is very important in our green kitchen. We have a whole year's supply of vegetable protein tucked away. There is absolutely no reasons why anyone with a small piece of ground should be deficient in amino acids; add the occasional egg or glass of milk and all will be provided for.

But it's all completely dependent on adequate rain water storage.

Rain water storage

Rain water storage is for every home worldwide. Underground reservoirs are the best and cheapest option.

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Newsletter

Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself, the 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.

  • Refined maize meal and stunting
  • Should agriculture and industry get priority for water and electricity?
  • Nature is calling
  • Mill your own flour
  • 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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