Rainwater Tanks

Way back in February 2004 Frank and I bought two rainwater tanks. I don’t want to try to remember when we actually installed them but I’m thinking it took a year (lots to do on the house back then). Whenever it was, we’ve had rainwater tanks for a good long while. And we use them all the time. We don’t water anything outside unless it comes from these tanks. Okay, I think for maybe a week last year, during that terrible drought, our 4000 litres worth of water was all used up and we resorted to town water to keep our vegetables alive. That was pretty painful, but necessary.

We also use the rainwater to make our beer and water our chickens. No chemically-treated water out of the tap for such precious commodities (though we drink the town water from the tap all the time 🙂 )

Recently, our chickens have gotten their very own rainwater tank. Frank put some guttering on the back of their coop – mainly to stop the splashing that was hitting the wood and getting in the coop during heavy showers. When he sees a gutter, he naturally thinks about water collection. So he got a large plastic rubbish bin, put a hole in the top, glued a wire sieve to hang under the hole (to collect leaves and debris and stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in the chook water tank), and put a chain from the gutter into the sieve (to direct the water – it works like a downspout).

Now our chickens can drink the water they collect. How’s that for a coop renovation that will make the neighbourhood chickens green with envy!

This is all theoretical of course. Today Sydney is breaking the record for the driest start to May. Not a drop of rain so far this month and that’s never happened before (since records were kept – obviously). It last rained on the 25th of April. Our big rainwater tanks still have a lot of water left in them, since it’s autumn, the plants don’t need a lot of water, but the poor chicken tank has zero water in it.

I’m sure before long I’ll be complaining about the water overflow and the torrents running down the back of my garden. This mini-drought will become just a vague memory. Until then I look heavnwards, wait patiently and think Climate Change?

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About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
This entry was posted in Chickens, Garden, Sustainability and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Rainwater Tanks

  1. What a great idea, and here I was thinking we had no room for a rainwater tank. I have seen photos of rain-chains, and would love to find a place for one. Now your chooks have one, they are really spoilt!

  2. Rainwater tanks don’t really take up that much room, they fit along fences or buildings pretty well (too bad they’re so ugly). Getting the water in is easy (rain-chains are magic) but getting it out is a bit more of a problem. We haven’t set up a pump (we’re thinking about hooking a pump up to some solar panels and a car battery, it’s all part of being sustainable and self-sufficient) so I fill cans and lug water around the garden. The chooks are spoilt indeed, they get their water delivered by me, they water-carrier, every day!

  3. I love the tanks! We are installing ours now – but I really like how good they look in your landscape! It will be so nice to water everything with reclaimed water

    • They aren’t as ugly as they were when we first installed them – putting that jade plant in front of them helped. My long term goal is to surround the tanks with lattice and grow passion fruit vines in front of them. Well, it’s more of a hope than a plan. My husband prefers easy access to the tanks – I’m all for the visual.

      Good luck with your tanks!

  4. Water Tanks says:

    Great information, gives me something to think about. Thank you.

  5. I put a 10,000 gallon ‘bladder’ tank under the house – it was fantastic and totally out of sight:)

    • We’ve looked at those and have considered adding a bladder tank. We’re only catching the rain off half our roof so there’s a lot of water still running straight into the creek. Glad to get the feedback that you like yours.

  6. I am intrigued by the rain garden concept. I see we both read about it today here http://soulsbyfarm.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/how-to-build-a-rain-garden/

    And you’ve already got one started. Well done!

  7. Pingback: Chicken Manure Tea Fertiliser | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

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