|From Yard makeover|
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I cannot emphasize how excited I am over my rainwater harvesting system. We got some rain the other day and my tank is 40% full! I am now using rainwater to hand irrigate parts of my garden. This is a big deal because water is so expensive here in Austin. They double the rates during the summer time to encourage people to conserve. Even the regular rate is way more than we paid in Springfield, Oregon. Not only that, but the water comes from a limestone aquifer which creates a higher pH than plants like. After years of living in the acid soils of the Willamette Valley, it seems bizarre to live in an area that has the opposite problem.
When Innovative Water Solutions installed our system, they tied in every downspout except for one. The very front of the house drained into a downspout that would have just poured water into my driveway. Oh, I don't think so. Even with my ditch works that water would just go to waste. Solution: get a rain barrel.
But you know what? That wasn't so easy. There is not a lot of selection for rain barrels. Most stores carry only one kind, if any, and they aren't very big - only 50 gallons or so. That means that I would have to link two or three together. We broke down and bought two at Home Depot, but they were poorly configured and we would have to retrofit them to get them to drain properly. I could have ordered some better designed containers on-line, but it is expensive to have them shipped. I considered just using a big garbage can, but they aren't sturdy enough to handle the holes that would have to be cut into them for the plumbing. There has to be a way to tie the gutter into the top, and then a tap has to be installed near the bottom to hook the hose to. It also needs to have an overflow hole.
Lucky for us, our friend Blake at Innovative Water Solutions came to the rescue again. The rainwater tanks they use are purchased locally here in Austin. Triple S Feeds carries water storage tanks of all sizes. We jumped in the Mazda and headed south. What a treat it was to go there! It is in a completely out of the way location past the airport and out in the country side. It is really nothing more than a family's barn converted into a feed store. It's located in a hot and dry area that reminded me a lot of Sam's Valley. (I kept expecting to see Kent Bigham wheel up in that big old pickup truck he used to drive.) As soon as I walked into the place I was engulfed in that wonderful smell that only feed stores have. What is it exactly? The mineral blocks? The molasses laced grain mash? The leather goods? The hay and straw stacked up nearby? It had a wooden floor and all kinds of wonderful things stacked up on the shelves. Oh, I just ached with longing and it took everything I had not to fondle every piece of merchandise. Ed and I just looked at each other and sighed.
But! On to the business at hand! These people have serious water tank inventory (and feed racks, and big old water troughs, and fencing. Focus Sheryl! Focus!) We found an exact replica of our rainwater tank, except that it is 319 versus 2500 gallon version. We strapped that dude in the back of the bed and headed on back to civilization.
Ed did a really good job of getting it plumbed in.
Once it starts to rain again and I see how much water we collect, I may rig a garbage can to catch the overflow. I can dip my watering can into it or maybe rig a siphon to water my plants in the patio. Or, what if I dug a pond, or rigged up a big water feature, or had a giant compost tea vat? Hmm, see what greed does?