And the system is working – or seems to be from what I can see...
Best Beloved took a weekend last month and we connected all the tanks together at the bottom, leaving a reserve of about four tons should there be a need for firefighting – not that four tons would make a big difference, but having a reserve also helps with cleaning and leaves room for sediment to settle out. We cut a hole for the outlet to which we can connect a portable electric pump (we looked at a permanent solar pump, but it was not cost effective), and connected a tap.
And then my dear husband climbed a ladder and installed air locks on the top of each tank. And then my dear husband fell off the ladder... Yes, he did, from right at the top of the tank – about 2.3 metres up. And he's a big man, so when he falls it is with a thump. A large black bruise graced his hip for ten days, and he felt distinctly like he needed realignment, but there was no permanent damage.
After that came the difficult part: connecting the guttering to the tanks. We used 63 mm hose – and fortunately we had enough lying around that we did not have to buy it – and created a sloping route for the water to flow from the collection/filter tanks that contain gravel and are positioned under the downspouts, over the outside steps, and into the tanks. The hose is heavy and hard to force into the connecting pieces, and two of the connections were in places where BB could get no leverage at all. Watching him, I was terrified that he would fall again because he had to balance high on the ladder that was in turn balanced on the stairs – and both hands were occupied with forcing the hose into the join.
Ugghh!! We were both glad when it was over. It's butt-ugly (no pun intended), so we will need to do some plantings to disguise, or at least soften the starkness. But first let's see how it works.
Rain has fallen steadily since Saturday afternoon, and the gutters have been doing their job. Standing beside the big tank, I can hear the satisfying drumming of water falling steadily inside, but the tanks have not yet filled to the reserve level, as when I open the tap at the end of tank four, nothing comes out.