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    Default Bulk water storage and collection

    We're finally moving out of the ranks of renter of the landlord to home "owner" (renter of the bank). Which will afford us some extra control of our surroundings and land. Which brings us to prep item #1, water.

    We have some ~200 gallons of barrels and misc water container capacity, which is fine for a short period of time. I'd like to create a more long term solution.

    The plan... Well, and half a rambling, reader has been fore warned..

    We are allowed to build a single storage shed, we would like to build a "basement" to this shed, which would be more or less composed of a large water tank and some plumbing to access the tank. I've combed through the Covenant and Restrictions (C&Rs) relating to the property we are under contract to purchase, and there is nothing indicating we cannot do this as far as I can tell. I'm thinking a 3000-5000 gallon capacity tank can fit down there, which with some conservative water usage should be able to last us a year or so or give us the opportunity to keep others alive for a chunk of time.

    0.50 $/gallon seems to be the going price for built tanks leading to a 1500-2500 expense for the tank. Does anyone have experience with say, plywood boxes and plastic lining? Would something like that hold up long term? It would certainly be cheaper than a tank, but if there was a problem, 5-10k gallons leaking into the soil in a short period of time could cause problems for us or possibly our neighbors... This is the one thing that would probably get me into trouble.

    What's the best way to dig such a hole? Shovel? Renting heavy equipment?

    I would like the unit to exist below the frost line, I'd rather not have the water lines freezing if I can help it. I was considering insulating the shed with an inch or two of polyurethane, which I believe with the existance of the tank, would prevent the entire shed from going below freezing during the winter time.

    The tank, being below the living and work space will require a pump to retrive water. I'm anticipating putting a sink in the shed, or in a covered outlet next to the shed, I'm leaning towards outside to prevent moisture buildup in the shed. I'm also considering a smaller "gravity box" in a shed attic, which could be fed by pump and provide pressure with gravity. Which is how local water pressure is done in Brazil, "street pressure" only exists a few hours a day at times, which serves to fill the local water boxes.

    Ideally, the garden irrigation methods would be switchable between city water and my water system.

    Ideally, collected rain water from the roof can be pumped into the tank from the rain gutter collection points. I believe this is technically illegal right now, which is stupid, but people have done it an had it published in the paper and are none worse for the wear, the legislature has even talked about changing the law. As is I'm going to ignore the legal aspect of collecting my own water. The C&Rs state I'm not suppose to redirect or change the original intended drainage pattern from going away from my house or not funneling water into my neighbor's yard. Which I'm not, I'm simply storing what is naturally collected on the roof anyway and dumped on my own property.

    Using just our roof as a water collection point, it would yield some 12k gallons per year year assuming average rainfall and a 75% efficient collection system. The bulk is in the fall and the spring with winter being probably a low use period, the summer is pretty sparce.

    I'm not sure the system is sized right to support a family and a garden that can also feed said family, perhaps I need a bigger tank to store more and weather the summer in that case. Anyone have any numbers as far as what a healthy large garden consumes in water? Is it realistic to live completely off my own collection/distribution system? Looks plausable to me at present...

    Last edited by BackBlast; 10-16-2009 at 01:17 PM.


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