Part of the landscape project includes a system that will harvest rainwater. Yes, I realize that water from the pipe is cheap and it will be decades before we recoup the cost of installing this system, but a), now is the time, and b) we live in a desert so we should be doing what we can to retain some of the water that falls free from the sky when the short and sometimes unpredictable rainy season is upon us.
The system works like this: Most of the downspouts from the gutters, from over half of our roof area, funnels into an underground cistern. This underground bucket is only about 5 gallons in volume, but it's more of a staging area for all the water to collect so it can begin the next part of its journey. Inside the cistern, there is a half horsepower sump pump with a float, so that it pumps only when the water level begins to rise.
The output from the cistern is an underground pipe that sends the pumped water across the yard. From there, it goes up to the top of a 550 gallon water holding tank where it spills into. The tank is slightly elevated so that when the time comes to use the water, it will be gravity fed.
The idea is to use this reclaimed water to irrigate the crops in our garden during the summer. However, since we live in earthquake country, we can also use the water during emergency situations for cooking, cleaning and even drinking after being properly filtered.
Yesterday, Harold and I took a drive down to Gilroy to a pump and well installation shop that stocks all sizes of water containment tanks. They had one 550 gallon tank left in their yard. That's a picture of it you see above. I bought it and our landscape contractor will pick it up tomorrow and deliver it to the house.
I have some ideas on how to install the tank, sitting on a raised bed of pea gravel, but our contractor may have his own, better ideas, which he is known for. We have room for another one of these tanks, but upon the sage advice from Rita, we will take it slow and go with this one tank for now to see how it works out. If all goes great through the winter months, on into next summer's dry growing season, we may get another one and hook them up in parallel.
I'll report back with the details as we move forward with the installation of the system.