Rainwater Cistern in Action!
I think of everything we have done so far on the earthbag house this season, seeing the rainwater cistern in action excites me the most. We completed the cistern late last year and this year one of the first things we did was fill it up to test it out!
No, we can’t fill it with rainwater just yet because we still don’t have a roof on the house, so the first time Lee filled it by making ten trips with a 300-gallon water tank in the back of his truck.
Keith installed a well pump inside the cistern, and a 20-gallon pressure tank on top of the cistern so that we would have an even flow of water and, more importantly, to keep the pump from cycling as frequently, which extends the life of the pump.
We hooked up our motorhome and have been using the water as normal for laundry, dishwashing, showering, etc, all with organic biodegradable soaps, particularly since our gray water just runs out on the ground right now (though the septic system is going in starting today; yay!). Because the water Lee hauled in doesn’t taste great, we used different water for drinking and cooking.
When the water ran out we called up “The Water Boy”—a water hauling truck driver based nearby. He can haul 2,500 gallons of water at a time. He brings his water from Ottawa, KS, which has much better tasting water, and he delivered 2,513 gallons into our cistern.
Water Boy was very interested in the way we track the water level in our cistern. We have a tank gauge made by a company called Rain Harvesting that measures the level which we can read on a gauge that sits on top of the cistern. This particular model also has a wireless transmitter in it which sends the information to a receiver in our motorhome, so from the comfort of our kitchen we know exactly how many gallons are left in the tank!
We have an under-sink filter in our motorhome in addition to the filters coming out of the cistern, so we now use the water from the cistern for drinking and cooking besides everything else.
Once the roof is up and we begin collecting rainwater, there will be a series of debris-removers and filters for water going into the cistern also.
We’re pleased to announce that the cistern seems to be holding up and working as planned, and we’re getting lots of use out of it already! If you’re interested in picking up any of the items I mentioned in this post, check out my Earthbag Building Resources page (CLICK HERE) where they are all listed (along with many other useful things for earthbag building).
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My husband and I are nomads, having lived in over a dozen U.S. states, plus Mexico, Antarctica, and Ecuador. I write. I recently released the 2nd edition of my 2nd book, "Live Like a Local in Loja," and I'm looking for a publisher for my third book, "Seven Years Running"--the true story of my fugitive childhood.