Tanks for the Rain August 2013

before pix for raintank installation, where rainhead and first flush will goHere's the story of Sweetwater's first tank installation workshop, Tanks for the Rain!

Our homeowner was interested in putting in one or more rainwater tanks to have emergency water and to use rainwater to help to water edibles in the yard nearby--fruit trees and a veggie garden.   The catchment surface for this tank is the roof of a small building (the "chateau") in the backyard.  The roof and overhang measure 204 sq ft. Therefore, we could capture 122 gallons of water in a 1" rain, or 2200 gallons in an average year in Santa Barbara with 18" of rainfall.

water harvesting tank will fit between the avocado and lemon trees

We decided that a 1320 gallon tank was the best value for the money, and best fit our needs.  Since we typically have dry periods between rain in the winter, the homeowner could water his trees and garden with the tank water during those periods in the winter, hold off on using tank water during the spring and early summer, use up to 3/4 of what's stored in the tank in the hot months of July, August, and Sept, and still have a reserve for emergencies that could be used right before the rainy season begins again.   If during the rainy season we get so much rain that the tank overflows, we designed a system that fed that extra water to five of the fruit trees.

Here are the before pictures of the side of the chateau where the rainhead and first flush will go, and the area where the tank will be installed:

Before the tank arrived, we created a base of sand and bricks:

measuring the base for the rainwater tankleveling the area for the tank and setting the brickssand was laid in between the bricks, leveled, and wet down

Our PreFab tank arrived about a week before the workshop, and we got it onto the base:

PreFab Bushman tank delivered by the freight servicerolling the Bushman 1320 rainwater tank to its new home

The day of the workshop, we connected all the plumbing and dug the trench and swales for the overflow, moved a lot of mulch, and had a general good time:

gluing the fittings for the rainheadthe overflow pipe daylights into a pop-upchecking the depth of the pipe before its buriedfrom the pop-up, a five-starred swale goes to five fruit treesthanks to the crew that made this all happen

Here's what the tank and components looked like after the workshop. Since then, the pipes have been painted brown to protect them from the sun.

inlet and overflow all hooked up to the rainwater tankthe rainhead and first flush system are ready to gothis mulched backyard orchard sits happily in the midst of the new rainwater tank