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 When buying this house we had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for, by having no mains water. We really liked the idea of having no bills so this was just another way of getting to our end goal.

We were told that our 3 tanks held about 60,000 litres of water...fantastic, we thought...loads. What we didn´t realise was how hard it would be when it didn´t rain and how many water deliveries we would have to pay for!!!!

The picture opposite shows how the rain water gets into the tanks.  When it rains here, it really rains. A 30 minute downpour can store 2,000 litres or more of water. So we don´t really need too many days rain to fill the tanks.

Our first year here the tanks were over flowing but as time has progressed and the rains have not come when promised, we have had to be very ingenious and even frugal with our use of water for the garden and house.

Rain water collection

As you can see from the photos opposite, we collect all the water that we use. All of this water is then put into the water butts and watered down with clean water and used to water the plants. As long as the veg is going to be cooked it is fine to give it this water. 

The washing machine was purchased after we had tried to run an automatic and failed miserably. This has no electronic parts and so runs brilliantly on solar or using the generator. It was actually made to use in a caravan... but here it is a god send.  We can collect all the water it uses in plastic containers and reuse it for other things.

Using the spinner I can add water and spin it straight into a container so the water is very light in soap. Only problem is that you can´t leave this sort of washer and so have to be there for the hour or so your washing.

We have 2 showers in the house now and both have containers that we collect the water in.  This again is used for watering the plants and vegetables.

The large container holds a thousand litres and we use this for cleaning the swimming pool. We have to backwash the filter every so often and this tank is where the water goes. We wait for the dirt to settle out and then pump the water back into the pool...that way we don´t have to top up the pool as often.

We are hoping to buy more of these tanks and set up watering systems around the garden to ease the burden of watering everyday.

Update June 2014

Basically we have had no rain since April 2013. It has been a very, very dry year. We are struggling to keep the vegetables alive let alone producing anything. Our large back beds are empty as we just do not have the water to  maintain the plants we would normally have growing. It is not all doom and gloom though. We have been trying out permaculture methods in our garden, building mounds and using straw. The ones that have watering systems are doing well on very little water and we are thinking of developing this further all around the garden. Obviously this is going to take the rest of the year, as it is a big garden...but hopefully then if the rains do not come, we will be able to grow enough for us to survive out the year. We are also considering setting systems up that will collect the dew in the summer. We can get quite heavy dews here, but it evapourates as soon as the sun rises. If anyone has any ideas on how we can develop this, please leave us a comment.

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