Monday, February 1, 2010

The desert's dry, so I looked to the sky....

Lets talk about water catchment tonight....I just received delivery of three 3000 gallons storage tanks. Had them dropped at the end of my driveway for now as I have to prepare the pads (leveled sand) for them on the east end of the greenhouse.

To begin with, we will use the following formula: 1" of rain per square foot of surface area = .6 gallons of water. My little patch of Texas averages about 9" of rain per year (mostly in Aug, Sept, and Oct) My total storage capacity is now at 21,650 gallons - the new 9000 gallons of which will be guttered in to the roof system on the greenhouse. I will need 7.5" of rain per year to fill these tanks off a 2000 sq, ft. roof.

My little hut has a 550 gallon tank guttered in. It has only overflowed twice in two years from the runoff of the small roof on the house. Next to the seasonal draws on my property I have 12,100 gallons of storage capacity. Last good rainfall that I caught - I was able to pump 3000 gallons in just under an hour into one of the tanks. Over the past year I have collected and stored about 9000 gallons from this runoff to be used for greenhouse irrigation later this year. The beauty behind these seasonal streams is that water runs through them from an area about a quarter mile square. Not accounting for what soaks into the ground - that much area equals 4,181,760 gallons of water rushing by my place after only 1" of rain. It's all a matter of being ready to catch it and having a place to put it when it happens. 54,80,32,0

13 comments:

Caboose said...

That is very interesting how you figured all this out. What is the quality of the water you catch? And what about evaporation? How much will you lose in the heat of summer? I know you have spent some time figuring all this even before you moved to Texas. How did you decide to move where you are now from NY?

Susan said...

Do you use any of the rain water as drinking water? I had rain water collection as my total water source for 10 years and used an ultravoilet light to purify the water I drank. It worked great.

Jeff Hooper said...

We're interested on how you plan to use the water. If some will be for drinking will you explain the filtering process?

Caboose said...

John, thought you would like this site, check it out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDz6lgDiCt8

Mama Crow said...

Brilliant.

I've been looking into Berkey to filter my rainwater for drinking ... for "someday" in the far blue yonder.

(Not associated with Berkey at all whatsoever ... just sharing what I'm looking into.)

tffnguy said...

John, any thing you need from Odessa that doesn't take up a lot of space or weigh a lot? I'm going to have a pretty full load on the way back, but should have a little spare room on the trailer.

neil said...

TFL-TimeLapse-20100201

Pixel Pines Permaculture said...

Yes very informative thread. These are just the things I need to get straight before I homestead in New Mexico..
You could filter drinking water through a DIY slow sand/charcoal filter..
And if you grow with hydroponics, your water use will be a lot less(although you may not need to!).
"Aquaculture" uses fish excrement to feed plants in an organic/sustainable way.. you grow duckweed to feed the Tilapia!

mike said...

http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/technologies/aeroponic_plants.html

Dennis Brady said...

Hey John, I've been collecting rain water for my ranch up here in north Idaho for 12 plus years. When I moved here and set it up, the locals just thought another crazy Californian (Santa Cruz) moved in. Well, 12 years later that dang system still fills my water needs for all domestic as well as for our gardens and horses. It's all about storage capacity.

Allen Hare said...

I was talking to a friend about this very subject on Saturday. He was certain you would fail due to lack of rainfall. I tried to get through to him that it was not so much rainfall amount, as it was collection and storage capacity. You've explained it all very well in today's post. It's good to see you have tankage in place for the greenhouse roof. Can't wait to see it all set up. Good luck, as usual.

pipsqeek said...

Dennis; And I bet they still think you're crazy. hahah.

Good work figuring out the storage needs based on what amount of rainfall you get in the area.

I'd have just gone and bought a tank that I think would work. But I do everything the hard way.

OGT said...

It wont be long and you'll be the Field Lab Water Company with all the water yer gonna get from that monsters greenhouse roof.