Sunday, May 1, 2011


Robert and Robin

Here we are, Robert and Robin

our land, San Juan Island

This is our 5 acres of land on a bed-rock ridge covered with moss and wildflowers, madrona, doug fir and pines. We're about 500 feet above sea level, 6 miles from the town of Friday Harbor We have no connection to town water and no well.

We collect rain water in a catchment system off the roofs of our buildings. Generally we have to skimp in the summer because it's dry here for 3 months with no rain at all.

Gardens need water!!! What to do? Answer: build a water storage system to be filled during the winter and spring when it rains a lot.

We ordered two tanks (cisterns) which were delivered on a 36' truck. I assisted the driver to unload them by stopping them from rolling down the hill when he pushed them off the truck bed. One of them took an odd bounce and knocked me flat. I ended up at 6 AM in about four inches of very soggy moss, a sponge landing. Lucky, wet me...

catchement, water storage cisterns, 3000 gal

Here they are, ready for us to roll into place.

catchement, water storage cisterns, 3000 gal

We installed two storage cisterns, each with a capacity of 3,000 gallons, on wood-framed "beds" of sand..

catchement, water storage cisterns, on bed of sand

Here's a closer look at them... big fellas, aren't they!

catchement system, feed plumbing

We top-load by pumping water from our other cisterns, the ones filled from the rooftops, using 2-inch fire hose and a gas-powered bilge-pump.

catchement, plumbing for release system

We bottom-release by pumping water from the storage cisterns to our house system from which we will water the garden. Voila! Water is now available!

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