One of the major projects that I undertook this last summer was setting up a water tank in my garden – I live in an area that faces drought on a regular basis, despite all of the lovely rain that we got over the last 12 months, so I decided that I’d start collecting water in a tank, complete with a liner to make sure that if my tank split, it could hopefully be contained.
I Like Big Butts and I Cannot Lie
One of the things I discovered, living where I did, was there was a lovely space under one edge of my family home’s lean-to shelter, where our utility room is. The problem with it was the first butt that was installed could only fill to a certain point, before we discovered that it was being damaged by the gate bouncing off of it. So our first step was to look and see where we could put the new butt and then get it all connected up to the supply. We moved it to the middle of that space – and for that summer, we had an abundant supply of water to use in our watering cans. I couldn’t use it to wash the car because it was full of algae, which I discovered was because the butt I’d bought had something growing in it before I installed it: then winter came.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I tend to forget about my water butt in winter. It sits there gathering water. But mine started to groan the middle of last winter. It was the oddest sound – and then I found out why. In the deep chill, the water in the tub had frozen – not completely, but enough that it was leaking at the back. The groaning was the plastic being forced apart by ice.
So that butt needed replaced. I was beginning to think that I should just give up and pave over my garden and then, this year we got our drought warning.
So, we were two for two storage containers for water, I decided to read up a little before installing the next one. Then we bought a new house – a quaint little farmhouse that had an even bigger area for collecting water.
The Largest Tank We Could Find
My son jokes that our new water tank/butt is a bit of a silo. It’s huge. It’s also lined and has a release valve if it gets too full. We decided that this time, if we were doing it, we’d do it right. I spoke to a specialist company and they set up the bespoke solution. Spare water sluices into an overflow tank that empties into our greenhouse and in the winter, we didn’t have any problems with splitting. The only problem we have right now is its full – despite being on drought warning, all it seems to have done is rain and snow!
Next year we’re talking about fitting a small generator, so we can heat the water that’s stored and use it for washing and rinsing the cars and courtyard – it’s ok with cold water, but I think my sons would prefer it if the water was hot, especially in winter. But for now, our oversized water butt is perfect for our family – it provides water for the garden and our greenhouse in the spring and summer and we even get to use some of the water for other stuff, like washing cars and the tractor.
Overall, I think that it’s a great investment and I’m glad I looked into it after my last two failed.
Nick Thorping is a writer who used to play with his friends on a local farmer’s field when he was a child. He was always fascinated by the tank liner on the water tank as it offered a great hiding place when they played hide and seek.