I’ve finished installing my rain water collection system that I will use to power my drip irrigation system for my container vegetable garden. We actually accomplished all of the work in about a half a day and it was fairly easy. We levelled the tank, finished installing the collection and filter pipes and then installed the filter pipe drain and overflow piping. I’m not ure of the roof surface area that this collector drains but will measure and report back next month. All in all, installing a rain water collection system to power my drip irrigation system for my container vegetable garden was relatively easy and inexpensive.
Leveling the Rain Water Collection Tank
This rain water collection tank holds 1,000 gallons and that should be plenty to supply several months of water for my drip irrigation system. It is approximately 9 feet tall by 5 feet wide. I think it’s important that it is level because water weighs a little over 8 pounds/gallon and 1,000 gallons means the tank weighs approximately 4 tons when full. That’s more than a large vehicle and it is definitely more top heavy than a large vehicle. I doubt it will be subjected to the side to side movement that a vehicle is but I still think leveling the tank is important.
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Rain Water Collection Tank Pad Adjustments
I save some of the crushed granite from when I originally built the pads for the rain water collection tanks and used some of that saved excess to push under the tank to level it. The location of my tank, under my deck, is on the side of a hill and leveling this tank, as well as the drip irrigation system and deck container garden will be a challenge.
Rain Water Collection Pipes
The rain water collection piping system consists of collection pipes and a filter pipe. The primary collection pipes are connected directly to the rain gutter down spouts running from the roof of my house. In this case, we’re collecting from 2 downspouts and running both of them into a single tank. I do have the ability to add additional downspouts collections in the future as well as adding additional tanks in the event that I want to expand my drip irrigation system.
Joining Rain Water Collection Pipes
In some cases I have cemented the pipe joints together. I’ve done this where I know there will be water weight stress or that the rain water collection system design is close enough to final to be permanent. In other cases, I’ve simply hand fitted the pipe joints together to allow for ease of movement if I find out that my system design has a flaw or I have a bad location for my drip irrigation system.
Rain Water Collection Filter Pipe
Most commercial and personal water rain water collection systems have a complex filter system to make the water potable. In my case, the water is not intended to be potable, only to run my drip irrigation system. Thus, I only really need a filter system to remove debris. This filter system is the simplest but least efficient. The design is intended for the first rain wash to fill the vertical pipe. The first rain wash will contain the majority of the debris. Once the vertical pipe is filled, the remaining collected rainwater fill flow into the tank.
Rain Water Collection Filter Pipe Drain
The vertical filter pipe in my rain water collection system needs some method of draining. I am not reliable to remember to manually drain the filter pipe after each rain. So, I’ve installed a faucet at the bottom of the pipe and opened it slightly to allow the filter pipe to drain slowly over time. Although I can’t use this drainage water to directly supply my drip irrigation system, I will use it to supply my rained bed garden and another drip irrigation system I’m planning to try down there. This design fails in two ways that are somewhat acceptable to me. The first failure point is that it does not account for drainage of the debris. The debris will still have to be manually cleaned by removing the entire end plug from the filter pipe. The second failure is that this system will fail to collect rain water when the run off collected is less than the outflow from the faucet. That means that a very slow drizzle or light rainfall may fail to collect in the tank. I’ll have to use trial and error to determine rainfall amounts and collections versus the faucet settings for drainage so that I collect as much rainwater as possible without collecting too much debris.
Summary of Rain Water Collection System for Drip Irrigation Installation
I leveled my rain water collection tank, which is top heavy, to prevent any future problems. I cemented some of the rain water collection pipes but only hand fitted others, depending on the water weight stresses and expectation of potential design changes. I’ve installed the vertical filter pipe, faucet and drain hose and will begin recording rainfall and drainage amounts to optimize the outflow faucet settings and collect as much rain water as possible for my rain water collection system to power my drip irrigation system for my container vegetable garden.