If you are here, you may be thinking about using a catchment tank for your home. Most people can't imagine not having city water and don't have to think about it till the bill comes. But times are changing, with the advancement of technology living in areas without city water isn't unheard of. This is common for a lot of people in Hilo, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Mexico and many other parts of the world. It's also used in desert areas, remote living areas and of course tropical jungle areas with lots of rain. It's nothing new historically but it has advanced really well.
So How Does a Catchment Tank Work?
The idea of the catchment tank is quite easy. It involves an area to store water and areas to catch the rain fall. But it can also be a tank for water deliveries so you have water for a while. For your typical catchment tank that works of rainfall, the method is using the roof of the home and your rain gutters to deliver the rain to the tank. You would be very surprised how much a good 1000 sq/ft roof would bring in during a storm. Some small facts...
- Tanks can range anywhere between 1000 gallons and 20,000 gallons. Of course they go could go bigger or smaller but this is what is typically seen.
- They can be filtered so you can drink the water using a UV filter. Which actually makes it better water than some cities.
- They do require maintenance every now and then to keep the tank clean.
- There are catchment tank calculators to figure out how much square footage is needed to bring in the amount of rain water for your tank.
What sort of maintenance is needed on a Catchment Tank?
So the tanks themselves have developed really well. The times of an old rusty tank are gone and you can get lightweight tanks with great linings. This helps keep the water cleaner and not effected by weather over time. You would need to keep the tank clean as possible though. You don't want leaves and dirt from the gutters dropping into your water. So one, you need a filter that only lets in the water and not the stuff you don't want. Of course, a filter will catch that but it needs to be cleaned out often. Also, you want to keep your rain gutters clean as possible so the rain runs smooth without issue into the tank. So if you live in a place like Hilo Hawaii or Costa Rica. You will have to do some regular maintenance on your water supply. It is also best to clean out the tank at some point but that doesn't need to be done often.
How do you get the water into your home?
This is where you get a catchment pump, which takes water from the tank and pressurizes it. That way when you turn on the shower, sink or anything else you get strong water coming in. The pump and the piping will determine how strong your water will come out. So if you like your shower with really strong water then make sure to get the right items.
How can you drink this water?
Yes, so the most effective way is a UV purification system but thats not all you need. Using UV purification is great and removes bacteria without any added chemicals to your water. It's very low maintenance and doesn't take much power. But, although it really purifies this water from bacteria and impurities. It will not remove heavy metals and chemicals. So once the UV purification system has done it's job, you will need some in home filters to take care of the rest. At that point your water will be good to drink. It's best to get someone who knows these systems or if you do it yourself, get a water tester before drinking and test often.
Will I run out of water?
In places like Hilo Hawaii its quite unlikely, same goes for anywhere with similar rain fall. But of course with little rainfall or none, you need a delivery service for water. Many places have this service all over and it can be around $200.00 for the delivery of water. It should be enough to last you a really good amount of time for that price as well. You can have a monthly schedule of delivery as well to keep up on it. The water will not be perfectly purified, but your filtration system will be able to do that job.
What about getting hot water?
So yeah, no one really wants a cold shower at 6 in the morning. There are many heating options and they are typically holding tanks. Same as the pressure tanks but they will heat the water. So you can run one of these all the time so the hot water is at a set level. Or they have small ones that allow you to flip a switch and heat the water in about 5 minutes. And it can get really hot so rest assured your shower will be as hot as you can take.
So in conclusion, you have your tank to hold water. A source to catch water or deliver it. Pumps and heaters to pipe the water into your home and a little maintenance every now and then. There isn't much to it till you build the system, that will require some plans and knowledge. Also, don't be afraid of it like its a weird thing. It's done all over the world and has worked for ages.