Saving water for the Garden
Not Just a case of Convenience

My second 220 liter water barrel arrived the other day, making my saving water efforts a lot easier.

One of the things I know I'll be doing a LOT in the peak growing time is watering. Rainwater, as far as I am aware is a lot better than tap water for the plants, so having a good supply available in easily accessible water containers is a major advantage.

water butts

For me, it's also a lot more convenient as I do not have an outside tap or irrigation system installed, so having the water butts there saves me having to set up the garden hose each time, or keeps me from having to run indoors to the kitchen tap every few minutes.

This saving water setup is quite simple. In my case, rainwater is collected from the roof of the conservatory. It can just as easily be collected from a house or shed roof, and it's all done via the guttering. There are simply-fitted kits available that enable you to tap in to the down pipe of your house guttering in order to divert the water into your water butts.

In my example, the rainwater fills up the first barrel, then when full, it overflows through a food-grade pipe into the second barrel, and when that's full, it flows into the small green barrel, which was my original garden water butt before I started this whole food growing project. That’s 620 liters in total.

Fortunately, England is a fairly wet country, so I won't have to wait too long before they are all filled up. A few April showers should do it.

I would use water from the green barrel first, then from the middle barrel, then finally from the first barrel.

Not just a case of convenience
In times of drought, when the use of hose pipes or irrigation systems are prohibited, as is often the case in the UK thanks to the water companies putting profit above service and capacity (but that's a whole other article,) your water conservation efforts will pay off in dividends. On top of that, those of us with a water meter will be saving significantly on our water costs.

Also, 'Preppers' or anyone looking into the concept of survival gardening will find this additional benefit useful. As a mild preparedness advocate myself, I understand the importance of firstly storing drinking water for emergencies, and secondly, securing an alternative drinking water supply.

The two red barrels I am using here are made from 'food-grade' plastic, which means they can also double-up as an emergency source for drinking water, unlike the green barrel which will likely leach undesirable chemicals into the water.

Obviously rainwater is not potable (drinkable) in its raw state, and must first be purified, but it remains a fairly clean and low-contaminant source that's easy to purify using boiling, or filtration methods. Pouring it through a . , for example will make it immediately drinkable.

For those interested, I obtained the big 220L food-grade barrels from eBay (UK) for about £17 each plus about £10 postage. The barrels came with a tap kit which you had to fit yourself. The water butt stands were purchased locally for about £10.

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