Rain Water Capture Reservoirs

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Rain Water Capture Reservoirs

Postby kmussack » 03 Jun 2016 07:39

PJF mentioned in his video, Video, Venezuela, und Wasser! (Water) that water reservoirs, if exposed to sunlight, must be opaque to avoid the growth of algae.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uznKzOw6X5Y

He’s absolutely correct, as a hydroponic grower I can tell you that algae growth is my nemesis.

However, black may not be the best color choice. Black will cause the water reservoir to be heated by the sunlight. This isn’t a good thing when it comes to the growth of other microscopic critters.

What is best is to make the reservoir opaque and reflective.

There is this stuff called “Panda Film” marketed by Viagrow which is 6 mil thick poly sheeting that is black on one side and white on the other. It is opaque and 90% reflective when used with the white side exposed.
This sheeting is available in 25’ long x 10’ wide pieces for about $30.
Image

A 275-gallon IBC Tote is roughly a 4-foot cube. So wrapping the tote with this film would take a 16’ long piece. A single tote would use the bulk of a $30 piece but if you're wrapping multiple totes the cost per tote could be reduced to around $20/tote.

To paint a tote, my guess is that it will take no less than three cans of quality black spray paint to cover and IBC tote. Good quality spray paint for plastic will run anywhere between $7 and $12 per can. So let’s assume an average cost of $9 per can.
Image

So the cost of spray painting a tote will run somewhere around $27. Even using the least expensive paint the cost comes in at $21.

There doesn’t appear to be an obvious cost advantage to painting rather than wrapping.

The wrap won’t chip or peel or flake like the paint might do over time.

I’ve explored these options and have decided to wrap my totes with Panda Film, white side out then put them back into their cages with the overlap edges on the bottom.
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Re: Rain Water Capture Reservoirs

Postby kmussack » 03 Jun 2016 14:44

A typical IBC tote is: 40"L x 48"W x 46"H and weighs approximately 135-pounds empty. It's capacity is nominally 275 gallons. Filled with water each tote will weigh approximately 2,418 lbs.

Image

Be sure that these containers have a good foundation lest they tip over and do real damage.

In my area these used totes are available for around $80-each ($0.30/stored gallon). An alternative to the IBC tote is the 55-gallon blue plastic drum generally cost around $20-each. ($0.36/stored gallon).

The IBC tote requires less support structure because it includes its own stackable cage. Whereas the barrels will have to be supported by some form of rack.

The IBC tote includes a two-way ball valve on its outlet whereas the barrels have no valves.

Using either type of container in a water storage reservoir will require some plumbing.

Keep in mind that when old man winter comes anything containing water is subject to freezing and the expansion damage that comes with it.
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Re: Rain Water Capture Reservoirs

Postby kmussack » 29 Jul 2016 23:59

It looks like I may have scored a local source for IBC totes.
Tomorrow I go to look them over.
Stay tuned.
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Re: Rain Water Capture Reservoirs

Postby kmussack » 30 Jul 2016 12:08

Today we took our first tangible step in the building of our rain water harvesting system.
We purchased twelve 275-gallon IBC totes from a local guy who was willing to deliver.

With the help of my son Andy and Son in Law Josh we got the totes moved to the back yard.

These totes are single use taken from a brewery. They contained vanilla flavoring with Alchohol which explains the flammable placards.
These totes are identical in every respect which will simplify plumbing.

We plan to have one row of six, two high.

Twelve totes at 275-gallons each will give us a reservoir of 3,300 gallons of water on hand.
The guy that sold them to us is an engineer. While walking back to his truck he glanced at the roofs of the house and garage and said, "An inch of rainfall will fill them all."
I replied, "Yep, you're right." (Actually he was off by a factor of two.)
This guy is one of us.
Last edited by kmussack on 08 Dec 2016 14:08, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Rain Water Capture Reservoirs

Postby Ekiwinox » 30 Jul 2016 18:04

They look so nice and clean. Mamma mia that's a spicy lot of containers. You have more than Carter's has little pink liver pills. The guy might be the best catch. I bet he knows people who know people. That's a large network. How are you going to disguise these? Those blank metal plates on the front just call out for some sort of organizational labeling or art or something. Those bins look great to have some serious fun with. If you run them East to West or East to West in a semi circle they will create a micro climate and you will be able to grow a food bearing tree that would not normally grow in your area.
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Re: Rain Water Capture Reservoirs

Postby kmussack » 31 Jul 2016 03:51

I plan to chronicle our progress with this project here.
The next step is to pour a steel reinforced concrete slab 5' wide x 24' long x 6" thick behind the West wall of our garage.
This slab will provide the necessary foundation for the nearly 30,000-pound reservoir.
Additionally the manifolded reservoir will be concealed from view there.
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Re: Rain Water Capture Reservoirs

Postby Larry G » 31 Jul 2016 05:27

kmussack wrote:I plan to chronicle our progress with this project here.


I have interest here. I'll be following your progress.
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Re: Rain Water Capture Reservoirs

Postby kmussack » 02 Aug 2016 08:47

With a 3,300 gallon reservoir we can irrigate for about a month without replenishment.
Of course any rain is a double bonus; the gardens get rain and the system gets replenished.

Here’s the math:
Reservoir Capacity = 3,300 gal.
Rain Water Catchment Area = 2,652 sq. ft.
Harvested Water (gal) = Catchment Area (sq. ft.) x rainfall depth (in.) x 0.623
It’ll take 2.0 inches of rain to fill the reservoir.

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Re: Rain Water Capture Reservoirs

Postby kmussack » 04 Aug 2016 07:04

We live in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York.

Essentially we have from April 30th to October 15th (168 days) free from frost to grow our gardens.

Our average rainfall for the months of May, June, July, August, September and October is; 3.07”, 3.66”, 3.46”, 3.03”, 3.46” and 3.35” respectively.

Over the last 90-days we’ve received approximately 5” of rain, 50% below average. About a month ago state government officials declared a “Drought Watch in Effect”. Yesterday they upgraded it to a “Drought Warning” in our region.
Image

From the NYDEC website:
“There are no statewide mandatory water use restrictions in place under a drought watch or warning but residents are strongly encouraged to voluntarily conserve water. However, local public water suppliers may require such measures depending upon local needs and conditions.”


As yet, there have been no restrictions placed upon our use of municipal water so we have watered our gardens almost daily and have been rewarded with what’s shaping up to be a bountiful harvest. However, water use restrictions can be emplaced at any time or our municipal water supply might be curtailed. In case of such an event we would need to employ an alternative method of irrigation or watch our gardens wither and die. It’s best to find a solution to this problem before it becomes a matter of life or death.

We currently cultivate two garden plots totaling approximately 2,400 square feet. Our methods are conventional so only about 65% of that area (1,560 square feet) is occupied by plants.

Currently we are irrigating by guess and by gosh using oscillating sprinklers. This method is inefficient but effective. Our plan includes converting to a drip irrigation method. This technique puts the water directly at the plant with little loss due to evaporation or runoff. (Drip irrigation is also lower profile than sprinkling which can be seen from a distance. This might be advantageous during periods of official water use restrictions.)

Before any meaningful plans can be made, it’s important to know how much water our plants actually need.

Our gardens contain Lima loam soil. This soil has proven to be an excellent crop producer with minimal supplementation. Typically this soil, when growing vegetable crops, will have an evapotransporation index of 0.17” to 0.21”. (inches of water per day)

So for the sake of simplicity let’s say that my vegetable garden needs 0.20” water per day to flourish. We’ve already determined that our actual plant bearing area is 1,560 square feet.

As mentioned earlier, in the month of June our average rainfall is 3.6”.

There are 30 days in June.

So:
(3.6 “)/ (30 days) = 0.12”/day
(0.20”/day)- (0.12”/day) = 0.08”/day

Even in a year with average rainfall we’re short 0.08”/day for optimal vegetable growth.
To provide this shortfall we’ll have to irrigate. How much water will this require?

(1,560 sq. ft.)(144 sq. in. /sq. ft.)= 224,640 sq. in.
(224,640 sq. in.)(0.08 in. /day) = 17,971 cu. In./day
(17,971 cu. In. /day)/ (231 cu. In./gal.)= 77.8 gal./day

During a growing season such as we are having now we’ll need to meet 50% of our garden’s water needs. That would be 0.10 inches of water per day or approximately 100 gal. /day. Over the course of a month that amounts to 3,100 gallons.

Where are we going to get that much water; Rain.

The combined rain water catchment area of my house and garage roofs is 2,652 sq. ft.

One inch of rainfall will result in 1,652 gallons of run-off.

In anticipation of a project like this I pitched the rain gutters on the house toward the garage and the rain gutters on the garage toward the back. So the perfect spot for the rain water collection reservoir is at the back of the garage. This location has a couple of other things going for it; it is approximately five feet above the gardens allowing for gravity feed and it conceals the reservoir from the view of passersby.

Our plan is to provide a reservoir of substantial capacity. After some cost benefit analysis we decided to use a quantity of used Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) totes. (A single 3,000 gallon water tank costs approximately $1,500 including shipping. We paid half that for our totes, delivered.)

We plan to place twelve 275-gallon IBC totes behind the garage; six across and two high. Then we’ll manifold them into a multi-celled reservoir of 3,300 gallon capacity.

An advantage of a multi-celled reservoir is that any single tote can be isolated in the event of a leak, whereas a leak in a single large tank effects the entire reservoir.

Two inches of rain will fill this reservoir to capacity. In a year like this one where we will need to provide 3,100 gallons of water for irrigation an average rainfall of two inches or more per month will keep the reservoir full. At least that’s the plan.
Last edited by kmussack on 25 Aug 2016 11:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rain Water Capture Reservoirs

Postby Larry G » 04 Aug 2016 07:32

I don't need more on my plate right now, but you sure are putting ideas in my head.

Water is like corn. One can never have enough.
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