Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rain Water Collection System is Getting Bigger

Last week I was able to get my friend Andy to bring his backhoe over to finish the excavating that the little Bobcat skid loader wasn't able to do. He did a very accurate job and I won't have to use a bunch of sand to level things out for the tanks. Lyn was very nervous with him digging so close to the existing tanks that were full of water from the recent rains. I wasn't the least bit worried as I've seen Andy operate so many different pieces of equipment and he is very good on them all. He bales hay for a living and is always running huge tractors and dragging even bigger implements and I've never known him to damage anything. He knows I'm a plant person and always asks before he drives over or plucks out any plants. He drove the backhoe seven miles here, did all this work, and drove it seven miles back home and would not hear of me paying him a cent. That's a true friend and I know I'm a lucky guy to have several of these true friends. I don't think he reads my blog but if he does, thanks Andy, I owe you.

The next day Lyn and I were back to shoveling sand and making ready to move a couple more tanks in. Getting the sand at the same level as the existing tanks is hard work and takes a lot of time. Moving the tanks around is even harder. They really aren't that heavy, around 400#, but they don't have handles. I weigh about 185# and Lyn weighs about a buck ten so pushing these around is really tough. We got it done, however, and now I'm ready for the rain on Monday and Tuesday.

It's starting to look quite impressive. With the eight inches of rain we had last week, all of these would have been full. As it was, we got 9,000 gallons in the tanks. The tubes at the top are the overflow tubes. I made them long enough to have the overflow fall beyond the pole that holds the sand back. After the last rain it was evident that it was important to do it as we had a major washout of sand. There is screen mesh over the ends to keep mosquitoes out.

Here is one of the reasons I'm doing this. This is the entrance to the Lauren concrete plant north of Seward Junction on Hwy 183 at 3:00 in the middle of the day, watering their driveway. Talk about wasting water. Hardly any of it is falling on the grass. That's my drinking water they are wasting.


Meredith/Great Stems said...

Grats on your rain tanks -- how exciting to know that more rains are on the way to fill the newest ones. That picture of the concrete plant driveway is very upsetting. Can they be reported or contacted in some way?

Pam/Digging said...

That's a very sad last picture, Bob. You have an impressive array of cisterns though. I wish I had even one biggie like that.

Bob said...

Sorry to say Meredith, they can't. They are on a well and there is that Right of Capture law here in Texas. That's why you see concrete companies always out in the country, they use lots of water and they always drill wells. They are in the same water that my well is in and this is why I'm spending all this money and working so hard. I just know there is an eventual end to this water.

Lancashire rose said...

Gosh, Bob, that is a serious water collection system. I had no idea.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Wonderful update. I have been wondering how your tanks did with the recent rain. I am so glad that they are a success.

What a great friend, Andy is...but then I bet you repay the favor whenever you can.

I am with everyone else on that last pic. With all our water restrictions, it is frustrating to see such blantant waste.

katina said...

Can't wait to see your water collection system in person!

Annie in Austin said...

What an amazing system it is now. Hope this week's showers happened for you, too, Bob, and that those water storage tanks are full!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

ConsciousGardener said...

Amazing, I wish I had your know how and space! It's a crime that folks are so unconscious about what's happening with our water! I'm in the process of hunting down a flat back barrel and having a hard time...seems like the price is equivilent to gallons? Anyway, super impressive! Great job!

ESP said...

Hi Bob.

Your rain water collection "city" is most certainly now taking on a Dune / Arrakis / Star Wars aesthetic - very futuristic, you should be proud of the progress, it is amazing and the scale! You have to be pushing new ground in the Austin area? Very impressive Bob.

Sorry I have been out of touch for a while, just got back from Scotland.


mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

That last photo of the wasted water makes me really angry. But I'm glad to hear that you are making progress. I wish we could have done our own modest rain collection project this year. I'll have to be happy with my rain barrels and buckets and the fact that it's been raining and raining.

Just came back from visiting family in Vegas where I learned that in all new residential construction lawn installation is limited to 50% of the lot. Of course, that's still too much for that climate and they live on borrowed water--but it's the start of an idea.

I wish it would catch on here.

Kat said...

oh wow, that last photo cracks me up in the worst way. it's hard to believe that irrigators in this state are licensed!