Friday, 5 June 2009

Off the water grid.


I have put this photograph on the blog before... it was some time ago that I bought the pump and got it organised for our water supply.   After a few hiccups, it is finally connected to the house today.  I now have water from the tank connected to the house system, using if for absolutely everything... cooking, washing, toilet flushing, and the garden.  This tank holds 9000 litres, but there's more...
These two tanks (soon to be three) are up by the back fence and each also holds 9000 litres.  I have a pump connected to these two tanks that can be used to water the garden or refill the "house" tank.  These are currently holding a total of 9000l and counting (it's raining.)
Here is the fancy plumbing (below.)  The pipe from the left brings water from the town supply... from the River Murray.   The one coming up from the bottom is from the "house" tank and its water supply.  The water to the house comes out on the left.
The big valve on the "town" pipe is a legal requirement so that my rainwater won't go back into the town supply and contaminate it.  They must think I have an incredible pump!
For those astute people, you will have noticed that the taps are set so that the town water is supplying the house.  This picture was taken a few days ago in daylight....
Here is the plumbing again... tonight... crappy picture (flash),   but you can see the valves changed to the other positions.  I'm sure that some people will find this minimally important, but here, in the driest state of the driest continent,  it is big news.

The first thing that I did was to run in and turn a tap on in the bathroom and then run out to hear the pump running.  So good!

For those of you who think that we won't have water if the electricity fails,  and the pump won't work( it had crossed my mind)... I still have the gravity fed rainwater tap in the kitchen...  as is usual around here (most people use rainwater for drinking.)   We have only ever used rainwater here for cooking or for drinking as the water from the town supply is so hard and salty.  
I was surprised to learn that in some places people use rainwater to flush toilets or water gardens but NOT for drinking.  From now on, along with everything else,  we will flush our toilet with rainwater,  but only because we are "off the grid."   I suppose it depends on your priorities.  From now on, rainwater does everything here.  When the summer comes, we'll have to be very careful with water.  That will be a whole new learning curve also.
The two (and eventually to be three) tanks up by the back fence are high enough to gravity feed into the "house" tank or the vegetable garden.  I try to be as little reliant on electricity as possible.  
Tonight I'm celebrating rainwater.  I had a shower, and I'll never need conditioner again... my hair squeaks when I rinse it with tap water!  It's interesting which things are important.

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