Water is a precious resource that we rely on for everything from cooking and cleaning to irrigation and drinking. Yet, as climate change and population growth put increasing pressure on our water supplies, it’s becoming more important than ever to find ways to conserve and protect this vital resource. One way to do this is by storing water at home. In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons why you might consider home scale water storage, the different methods of storage available, the many uses for stored water, how to install and maintain your storage system, and the safety considerations you need to keep in mind.
Why Store Water?
There are several environmental reasons for storing water at home:
- Water conservation: By collecting rainwater and storing it for later use, homeowners can reduce their reliance on municipal water supplies, which can help to conserve water resources.
- Reduced energy consumption: Municipal water supplies require a significant amount of energy to treat and transport. By using stored water for tasks like watering plants or flushing toilets, homeowners can reduce the amount of energy needed to provide those services.
- Drought preparedness: Storing water at home can help homeowners prepare for droughts or other emergencies where municipal water supplies may be limited or unavailable.
- Reduced water bills: By using stored water for non-potable uses, homeowners can reduce their water bills, which can help to save money and reduce their overall environmental impact.
Methods of Storing Water
Rain barrels are large containers that collect rainwater from rooftops. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, making them a popular option for home scale water storage.
Cisterns are large underground or aboveground tanks that can store thousands of gallons of water. They can be used to collect rainwater or to store water delivered from a municipal source.
Storage tanks can be used to store water delivered from a municipal source or from a private well. They come in a range of sizes and can be installed aboveground or underground.
Water bags are large, flexible containers that can be used to store water in basements, crawl spaces, or other areas where space is limited. They are easy to install and can be reused.
Swimming pools can be used as a source of emergency water storage, especially in areas with frequent droughts or water shortages. However, it is important to treat the water properly before using it for drinking or other purposes. Consideration should be given to converting your swimming pool to a natural swimming pool which uses pants to filter the water and also can support fish. Please see the video below from Geoff Lawton.
What Can You Use Your Stored Water For?
There are many uses for home scale water storage, including:
Storing rainwater for later use in irrigation systems can help to conserve water and reduce the amount of water needed to maintain a garden or lawn.
Greywater, which is wastewater from sinks, showers, and laundry, can be stored and reused to flush toilets, reducing the amount of fresh water needed for this purpose.
Greywater can also be used for washing clothes, further reducing the amount of fresh water needed.
Stored water can be used for cleaning tasks like washing cars, outdoor furniture, or even the exterior of a house.
Having a supply of stored water can be helpful during emergencies, such as power outages, natural disasters, or other situations where access to municipal water supplies may be limited or cut off.
If properly treated and filtered, stored water can be used for drinking, although this requires careful planning and monitoring to ensure that the water is safe to drink.
Installing Your Water Storage
Installing a home water storage system can be a great way to conserve water, reduce your water bills, and ensure that you have access to a reliable source of water during emergencies.
However, installing a system like this requires careful planning and attention to detail to ensure that it functions properly and safely.
Choose the Right Location:
The first step in installing a home water storage system is to choose the right location. You will want to locate your system where possible in a higher place than your garden. You also have to balance the location that is close to your home’s plumbing system and that is level and stable. Make sure that the location is also easily accessible so that you can monitor and maintain the system over time.
Choose the Right System:
Next, you’ll need to choose the right water storage system for your needs. Rain barrels, cisterns, and storage tanks are all options to consider, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Consider factors like the amount of water you need to store, the size of your property, and your budget when making your decision.
Install the System:
Once you have chosen the right system and location, it’s time to install it. This process will vary depending on the system you have chosen, but in general, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Install any necessary plumbing connections between the storage system and your home’s water supply.
- Install any necessary filters or treatment systems to ensure that the water is safe to use.
- Set up any necessary pumps or other equipment to help move the water through the system.
Test the System:
After you have installed the system, it’s important to test it thoroughly to make sure that it is functioning properly. Fill the system with water and check for leaks, and make sure that the water is flowing smoothly through the system. If you notice any problems, make the necessary adjustments to ensure that the system is working correctly.
Maintain the System:
Finally, it’s important to maintain your home water storage system over time to ensure that it remains in good working order. This may include regular cleaning, monitoring for leaks or other problems, and making any necessary repairs or upgrades. By taking good care of your system, you can ensure that it will provide you with a reliable source of water for years to come.
Health and Safety Considerations
While storing water at home can be a great way to ensure that you have a reliable source of water during emergencies or periods of drought, it’s important to be aware of the potential safety concerns associated with this practice. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the key safety considerations you should keep in mind when storing water at home.
One of the main safety concerns associated with home water storage is bacterial contamination. If the water in your storage system is not properly treated or disinfected, it can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella. To prevent bacterial contamination, be sure to treat the water in your storage system with a disinfectant like chlorine or hydrogen peroxide, and make sure that the water is properly filtered and purified before use.
Another potential safety concern associated with home water storage is chemical contamination. Chemicals like pesticides, fertilizers, or industrial pollutants can seep into the groundwater and contaminate your water supply. To reduce the risk of chemical contamination, consider installing a filtration system that can remove these contaminants from your water.
If you are using a rainwater harvesting system to store water, one potential safety concern is mosquito infestation. Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in standing water, which can lead to an infestation and the spread of diseases like West Nile virus or dengue fever. To prevent mosquito infestations, make sure that your water storage system is properly covered and sealed to prevent mosquitoes from accessing the water.
Finally, it’s important to ensure that your water storage system is structurally sound and free from leaks or other damage. A damaged or poorly maintained system can lead to water loss, contamination, or even structural collapse, which can pose a safety risk to you and your family. Regularly inspect your storage system for signs of damage, and make any necessary repairs or upgrades as needed.
By being aware of these safety concerns and taking the necessary precautions to address them, you can ensure that your home water storage system provides you with a safe and reliable source of water for years to come.
Aquaculture and Aquaponics
Aquaponics is a sustainable farming method that combines aquaculture (raising fish) with hydroponics (growing plants in water). This technique is becoming increasingly popular in urban and suburban settings, as it allows people to grow their own fresh produce and fish in a limited space. One way to incorporate aquaponics into your home water storage system is to use the water in your tank to grow plants and fish using the aquaponics method.
To set up an aquaponics system in your home water storage tank, you will need to first ensure that the tank is large enough to support both fish and plants. You will also need to choose fish species that are well-suited to aquaponics, such as tilapia, catfish, or trout. Once you have selected your fish species, you will need to create a filtration system to keep the water clean and aerated, as well as a grow bed to support your plants.
The plants used in an aquaponics system can vary depending on your preferences, but some popular options include lettuce, spinach, herbs, and strawberries. The plants are grown in a grow bed, which is typically filled with a substrate such as gravel or expanded clay pellets. The water from the fish tank is pumped into the grow bed, where it provides nutrients to the plants. The plants, in turn, help to filter the water by absorbing the fish waste and converting it into nutrients for their own growth.
In addition to providing a sustainable source of fresh produce and fish, aquaponics can also help to improve the water quality in your storage tank by reducing the levels of ammonia and nitrate in the water. This can help to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and algae, which can pose health risks for both humans and fish.
Overall, incorporating aquaponics into your home water storage system can be a fun and rewarding way to grow your own food and support sustainable farming practices. With a little planning and preparation, you can create a thriving aquaponics system that produces fresh produce and fish all year round.