Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wishful Wednesday - rainwater handling

My intention is to (over time) set up a convenient way to gather, store, and access rainwater, so as to be able to thoroughly water the food-growing plants here at Acorn Cottage. I've made a bit of a start, with several food-grade plastic barrels. I've not yet been able to make much progress on improving the convenience factor however.

I've a kludgey setup on two of the downspouts, that enables me to channel roof runoff through tubes and funnels into some of the barrels. (once they are full, I replace the barrel cap and run the water out away from the house itself) To remove the water, I have a self-starting siphon, and carry the water to the garden in a 5 gallon bucket. The drawback to this is that I cannot easily get more than about half of the water out of a barrel.

There are various ways to improve this situation. A few blocks away, one of the houses has barrels from the Rainbarrel Man, which not only raise the barrels up on wooden platforms, but cover the exterior of the plastic with a decorative "scrim" of narrow cedar boards. So building wooden platforms would work, but requires handling pressure treated chemicalised wood. One simple thing would be to use concrete blocks, and raise the barrels up a bit. Much less toxic, but hard to transport concrete without a truck.

The other thing I'd like is to have a better way of getting the water from the downspout into the barrel. There are various kinds of diverters that attach to your downspout and allow a choice as to where the water gets sent. There are some interesting ones here and here, as well as other sorts of diverters that require you to use a sealed barrel.

I'm also intending to eventually add a rain chain to Acorn Cottage. I was charmed by the funky handmade one (*see picture above)
made from olive oil tins and speaker wire, which I saw while walking down the street behind the ReBuilding Center. I've already been gifted with a roll of speaker wire thanks to my friend Hrafnir, some of which is earmarked for this project.

So I'm wishing for somewhere between 21 and 50 concrete blocks, and some empty olive oil tins.

And if the container fairy decides to visit, one of these 275 gallon "totes" would be a Really Good Thing. It could live on the stupid deck in the backyard, and be connected to the nearby downspout, and be really convenient to water the garden...

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