Rain water storage is one of the new-imperatives; the cost, reliability and quality all demand we harvest it, stockpiling it in tanks and reservoirs.
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 country.
Add to that the woes about ageing infrastructure, water leaks and raw-sewage running into Midmar Dam and you’d think we have an insoluble problem.
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 seems 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 supplied by rain collected in corrugated-iron tanks. They never filtered or chlorinated it.
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 option of all. You really need a minimum of 9,000 litres of storage; we have 27 kl and it rarely falls below half even in midwinter, providing all our needs including a twice-weekly deep irrigation 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 40 years old and perfect. The underground reservoir, with a roof, is even better as the water is much colder; 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 another 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 do it.
Rain water storage is for every home in South-Africa.
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