We think about water a lot here, and not just for gardening purposes. Some years before we purchased this property, it was connected to a mains water supply. But not directly, as the water pressure from Welsh Water was not sufficient to bring a decent supply all the way up the hill to us. So, a quarter of a mile from our house in a neighbour's sloping field, 40 vertical metres below us, our pump-house nestles in the roots of an enormous oak tree. Linked to the storage tank in our loft by some complicated electronics, a powerful pump moves water up from a holding tank as and when required. At least, that's the theory. It has been known to go wrong, but we have an excellent 'pump man' who comes to sort it out. We do, however, feel that we pay three times for our water - once for the metered supply, twice for the electricity to pump it up to us, and thrice for the maintenance of the infrastructure.
So partly to save money, and partly because plants prefer non-chlorinated rainwater, we collect the water that falls from the sky. When we arrived, we inherited a number of domestic-sized rainwater butts, and we have added to them - a total of ten at the last count, including one on a corner of the new barn:
We also inherited, at the back of the house, a non-domestic tank which holds 2500 litres, taking half the rain which falls on the house. A long pipe leads from it under our drive to the kitchen garden, and (the tank being significantly higher) provides reasonable pressure for watering in the greenhouse. This gave me the idea, when we started gardening in the field 5 years ago, of storing the rain water which falls on the 'stable' (the workshop/store). I bought 2 IBCs, each of 1,000 litres, intending to build a platform to raise them to create some head. Last month, I decided against the platform and bought instead a submersible pump. The tanks are now in place, linked to share the modified guttering arrangement, and have taken in a total of 1500 litres in the last 30 hours or so. Let's call the intervening 5 years the planning period.
We are hoping that this supply will go a long way to protecting us from drought when the scorching summer finally arrives. Two more IBCs are on order to take the bulk of the water from the different roof elevations of the barn. Four thousand litres should see us through.