Teaching Treasures™ Alternative Water Storage

Water poring into drinking glass

Alternative Water Storage Google+

Crystal clear water is at a premium around the globe and the World Bank recently called for governments to start treating fresh water as a precious, economic resource and stop the gross waste of water.

Australians living in a country known for its beautiful, sparkling rainwater, which incidentally is shipped overseas in quantities of hundreds of thousands of litres for consumption, are realizing the importance of storing those precious drops which in some parts of this vast country come far and few between.

Some areas are dry and dusty with spinifex blowing in the red hot sun. Places where men dare not go, unless extremely well prepared.

In other parts of this magnificent country, people pray for the rain to stop, especially during the wet season. Where houses, farms and roads used to be, the swelling waters take no pity on anyone or anything.

South Western of Western Australia is well known for its beauty of karri and jarrah forests as well as the bounty of flora and fauna.

Farms are dotted around the countryside and people living in communities don't have much to worry about when it comes to that lovely, cold, clean water flowing from their taps, but it's a different story for those farms where main water supply is non-existent. They totally depend on rain, catchments and storage. Water conservation is at its premium.

Those farmers who receive plenty of rainfall and have ample roof area for catchment, still often have the problem of where to store it. It is not uncommon for properties to look like tank cities, with often six to eight and sometimes more, shiny, steel tanks, not to mention the rusted ones, an unsightly, scattered, nostalgia left behind for the next generation.... not to mention the debt they still have for the purchase of these confounded tanks.

Concrete 20.000 gallon tanks are a common sight nowadays but unfortunately not within everyone's budget. Saving money is difficult and plastic water tanks are no cheaper alternative than concrete water tanks.

One owner of a small hobby farm in the SouthWest of WA has become a bit of a trendsetter when it comes to an alternative way of storing tens of thousands of litres of water at a fraction of the cost and what's more..... debt free!

He soon realized that the gravel, clay soil in his dam simply would not hold water over the summer months. What he didn't loose in seepage he lost in evaporation and even after lining it with extra clay, the seepage remained.

His wife's wish (which still hasn't come true) of a swimming pool gave him the idea of lining a waterhole with a vinyl liner and roofing it.

hole being dug

The start of the hole in the ground

Careful calculations pointed out the cost would be less than a concrete 20.000 gallon tank, but the capacity of water would be greater. The beauty of this lined waterhole was that he could get the work done as finance allowed.

A 22 ton excavator was hired and work began on the hole, of which the bottom measured 3m x 3m and the top measured 10m x 10m with sloping sides. The bottom and sides were smoothed and compacted as much as possible by hand afterwards so no sharp stones would penetrate the vinyl liner.

Although the liner is of heavy duty quality, he recommends to take precautions and make the bottom and sides as smooth as possible. After all, the liner doesn't come cheap and will last many years if laid out with care.

Before the liner went in, concrete footings were put into place. This turned out to be a tricky job and some old 44 gallon drums did just the trick, making the perfect form work for the two footings which were to support the 11 metre truss.

Holding the drums into place with ropes and stakes, turned out to be necessary because of the slope of the walls and as the weight of the concrete would have slid them graciously to the bottom of the hole.

plastic liner in the hole

Plastic liner

Once the footings set, the liner was put in place and the hair-raising job of placing the truss began. One slip-up would have meant a truss in the hole and a ruined liner. He did get some help with the placing of the truss but after that, it was just him and his wife again. As money permitted, wood was purchased for the bearers and sheets of iron arrived for the roof.... back
roof installation

Roof near completion

Copyright © 2001, Ingrid Griggs.
Published by: Teaching Treasures Publications



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