How does HHP manage its autonomous water systems at this time of year? As spring arrives, we are planning ahead. We have been pumping rainwater up to our reservoir for the last few months. It is very nearly full at the moment which feels great. We could be going into a dry period so may need it to last quite a long time. We have over 150 days in the waterbody which means self-sufficient living does not feel risky. I am fairly sure it will rain again in the next 5 months!
How many rainwater harvesting systems do we have at HHP? We have three systems one using the reservoir which supplies the bulk of our water, a second one supplying our drinking water and a third more informal system catching water from a shed roof to help supplement watering the plants. Having diverse systems helps you become resilient.
Top Ten Tips for Rainwater Systems
The top ten ways I would suggest to improve a rainwater systems:
- Maintain the collection area so things like gutters are clear and clean. This means you will not lose water when it rains and your filters will have less work to do.
- Keep a record of when you change the filters so that you know when they are due to be done next time.
- Keep an inventory of the stock of filters so you are aware when you need to buy more.
- As mentioned above have more than one system so if one fails you have another water supply to hand.
- Regularly check the level of the store so you know how much water you have and adjust your behaviour should the tank become near empty.
- If you plan to have a drinking water system, consider using concrete tanks instead of plastic tanks for storage as these help reduce the acidity of the water, limit food for bacteria and improve the taste.
- Improve the resilience of your rainwater system by having a large storage tank. The amount you can store enables you to continue to use water between rainfall events. If you believe climate change is going to increase the variability of rainfall, then I would suggest you err on the side of caution and have as large a tank as possible. This will enable you to keep going for as long as possible with your own supply.
- If you want to collect rainwater on a budget, I suggest buying a device that you fit into a standard down pipe that collects the water without any leaves etc. The water collected can be diverted to something as simple as a dustbin or other watertight container. You will supply yourself with a surprising amount of water. There is a local supplier of off the shelf systems called Stormsaver if you want a whole house system.
- If you want to treat a large amount of water that is not for drinking, I suggest a slow sand filter. The name suggests it does not supply enough water but in fact they can. It all depends on the area of the sand and the depth of water above it.
- If you are using a slow sand filter to treat your water be attentive to th
e top 25 millimetres of sand. It is this where the Schmutsdeke lives that does most of the water treatment. When the flow rate reduces you will need to reduce the thickness of this layer but I would suggest only removing about 10 millimetres so there is sufficient left to continue treating the water to some extent when you refill the filter.
Our Rainwater Systems Products
If you want more information, we have chapter written on our water systems which has good clear information and advice. Get chapter 7 here. We also have one on our unique hot water systems chapter 4 and one on the value of autonomy, chapter 12, which you may find useful.
People come on tours to see our systems and we get some good revues.
Subject: Today’s tour!
Dear Debbie, Matthew and Simon,
Thank you so much for the tour today. As always, it was a great way for the students to see and connect many different aspects of the material covered throughout their Environmental Management MSc, and a nice eye-opener for our international students, who are predominantly from India/Pakistan/East and West Africa (some of whom haven’t left their accommodation since they arrived in the UK in January!). Thanks, too for the added XR discussion. Hopefully, there’ll be a few more additions to the XR academy, now!
In other news, we’ve a new MSc course starting in September, on Renewable Energy Management. So it might mean even more attendees next time around, but perhaps by then we may be back in person.
All the best,