Gardening · Homesteading · Prepping

Offgrid Homesteading: Installing Water Tanks, Part 2

At our previous home we had spent time into having well-plumbed water tanks, and I wrote about it back in 2017. With our move this year the tanks came with us (when empty they are very light), which took up a lot of space in the moving vans, but hey…..we were not leaving them behind! With the wet season fast approaching, Kirk and I have been working on getting a new system in place on the farm. One area in particular is the lower fields – there is no directly piped water down there. While we can run hoses, that isn’t what we want in summer. We need a reliable source of water for watering the greenhouse and beds down there in summer. It was a huge reason why we didn’t break open the fields this past summer. Without knowing the property’s well good enough, we didn’t want to tax the well this past summer.

So in the process I had the guys roll down one of the 1100 gallon water tanks, that had been hanging in the woods for the past 6 months.

(I mean…they were so decorative up there!)

I found a spot, near to the growing area in one of the fields, yet under the shade and tucked into the edge of the woods. Kirk flattened the area with our tractor, so it wouldn’t shift over time.

With it being an untethered water tank, not connected to a roof I have had to think it out a bit. The first step was to work on keeping out leaf debris.

Since the top is off most of the time in rain season (till it is filled up), I picked up a roll of window mesh. I removed the screws, laid in the mesh, and screwed it on. On the tank that is connected to the house we kept it taut. On the lower tank we left it looser, so the new idea would fit in.

And this was the new idea: A feed funnel. I had been searching over and over on how do you get more water into freestanding tanks, that have no roof supplying water. While it isn’t perfect, it does increase the amount of water going in considerably. The other tip is I leave the tank lid upside down and it collects water, which I check daily and pour in. It is often a couple of quarts…which over time does add up.

I parked it out of sight, as it sits down low on our farm. No need to advertise it, no? And the shade will be good for the water come summertime.

Funnel in place. One note: On high wind events it does lift it out. And it is heavy. However, it doesn’t normally happen. It’s not a perfect solution, but it fits in, and yes, it does help with collection.

At the top of the hill we prepped the site for the other tank, using a blend of gravel and sand. Once leveled and packed down, we moved the tank onto it.

Tank in place. After that, we installed mesh into the portal, then attached the downspout diverter onto the house and assembled the PVC tubing as needed (similar to the setup at the old house). Last step was cleaning the gutters…and then we waited (impatiently) for the rain to show up.

And we figured out an idea for the lower tank. While we watched the tank slowly collect water, it is painfully slow (like at 200 gallons in it – which yes, for many people would be a lot), the upper tank of course filled up quickly. Our solution? Since we have 450 feet or so of rubber hose, for irrigation, we are going to drain the upper tank into the lower one (an easy hookup), by running the hoses down the side of the property, to the lower tank. That way we can quickly fill up the lower tank, and then use the rains this winter to quickly refill the upper tank.

Overall, this will allow us to have 2 separate water sources for next summer. One down low for hand watering, in the greenhouse, and one that can be run down the hill, gaining pressure, for irrigation. As we settle in, knowing that one tank is full has left me feeling better, knowing if we have a drought, we will be better off.


Disclaimer: Know the rules in your state, and county you live in. In most states it is legal to save a personal amount of rain water. However, there are places where it is illegal. In our state, Washington, it is OK to do. Do your research diligently before setting up a system!