Rain water harvesting – Part 1

We finally got the first of the 2 rain water tanks up and running, which is awesome.. Except that it’s the end of summer, and therefore the end of the rainy season. Boo.

Luckily, however, we got an end of summer full weekend of rain last weekend, and the tank filled up in no time.

This particular 850 litre Slimline JoJo tank is the smaller of the 2 rain water tanks i will be installing, and it’s use is primarily for watering the garden, washing the car, and general outside water use. A tank like this at the time of writing costs about R2500, and was purchased from Builders Warehouse. They come in various colors to match your home decor.

The full tank setup is shown below:

Water tank

The tap connected to the tank is obviously for rain water. The tap on the left is normal municipal water, for use if the tank is empty, or if more pressure is required. This  tank does not have a pressure pump, it feeds water from gravity, so the water will flow as long as the water is above the tap line. The hole at the top of the tank is for overflow if the tank fills up. I have left this open as i did not want additional overflow pipes, so overflow just flows out of tank. It is important (which i havent done yet) to have some kind of netting over this hole to prevent mosquitoes and other insects etc from getting in the hole.

The picture below shows the drainage for the overflow and spilled water. A small channel was dug about 1 foot deep, and filed with small stones. This allows the water to drain naturally into the soil, and is effective for small amounts of spillage etc. The base of the tank is a concrete slab. A good solid and level surface is required for a rain water tank.

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The picture below shows the basic gutter setup. All new PVC gutters were self installed, and they pretty simple to install with some basic DIY knowledge. The gutters were bought from Builders Warehouse. Generally if you require the cleanest water possible, e.g. for human consumption, a first pass filter should be installed to catch the first few liters of water, which generally has the most waste, ie dust, leaves, bird droppings, rat dropping etc. However because the water will just be used for garden and cleaning purposes, i am not too worried about the water quality. The main water tank which will installed in the coming few weeks, will have better water filtering.

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Thats it for Part 1. Part 2 will cover the main tank installation, which will be a more complicated setup and will also include rain water filtering and purification for human consumption.

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