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Water Collection/Use

Discussion in 'Resource Conservation - Water, Air, Earth, Etc.' started by hqueen13, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. Mar 12, 2012
    hqueen13

    hqueen13 <Insert Snazzy Title Here

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    I didn't know where to put this, so I thought I'd put it here....

    Some of you know that I work with a non-profit equine educational facility. We operate within a state park, and teach people all about horses. Our educational programs don't only include riding lessons, but also include some aspects of owning and operating a horse facility. We work with the county agencies and the USDA with projects for plantings, and do pasture walks through the agencies, and also rotationally graze our pastures for better grass health. That's the background anyway.

    Our facility is situated on top of a hill. We have a 22 stall barn with a metal roof that creates a LOT of runoff. Currently, the runoff is managed with large gutters and dumps out onto the hillside. The problem with this is that the hill is VERY steep, and we are now beginning to have MASSIVE runoff problems. I am afraid part of the hill is going to fall away very soon if something isn't done to correct the issue. Working with the park it is pointed out that the hillside needs to be stabilized (it is currently just mowed grass), and so adding decent sized trees would help. However, it isn't going to solve the problem.

    I have long had a dream to install a cistern to capture the rainwater from the roof, and then spread it on the pastures as a little bit of additional water when the rain stops during the summer. This would add to the facility's appeal as being a green facility in terms of managing the environment.

    But I've run up against a wall.... firstly, I can't find anyone with the knowledge/resources that could create a system based upon a cistern, and secondly we have no funding for this project (all the funding around the facility is going into other resources for other things). We have the prime location because we are on a hill, the cistern would go on the hillside below the barn, and then you could gravity feed a tank to use for dispersal of the water - no pump is needed!

    Is there anybody on here that can offer some suggestions or resources? I have no idea what size cistern I would need to handle the volume of water that comes off the roof. According to the formulas that I have found for that sort of thing the roof sheds approximately 100,000 gallons of water per year. I do know that I won't need to hold all 100,000 gallons at one time, but I don't know how much one might need to hold. I also know that the system needs a diverter so that if the cistern is full it can be diverted and not overflow the cistern. Beyond that, I have no idea where to even start!

    Thanks
     
  2. Mar 12, 2012
    Denim Deb

    Denim Deb More Precious than Rubies

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    There are formulas to figure out how many gallons will fall on an area based on the amount of rainfall and the square footage of the area. I'd say the first thing to do is to figure out how many inches you typically get in a rainstorm, figure out how many gallons that is, and go from there.
     
  3. Mar 12, 2012
    Dawn419

    Dawn419 Almost Self-Reliant

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  4. Mar 13, 2012
    Mr.Andersson

    Mr.Andersson Power Conserver

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    I am an irrigation tech. start small, any system can be improved, modified, added on to. A retention pond with an overflow pipe running downhill maybe one solution. If the cistern/pond has enough elevation, it could be gravity fed. A 50 ft height diff may give you around 30 psi. Gallons per minute is dependant on pipe size. So, what is the sq ft of the roof?
     
  5. Mar 13, 2012
    hqueen13

    hqueen13 <Insert Snazzy Title Here

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    Thanks guys!

    Unfortunately, starting small is pretty much not worth the effort for the barn. The small systems would end up so complicated in order to handle the total volume off the roof that it would not be worth the effort. The building itself has 6" gutters on it, so it is designed to handle bigger volumes. One little 50 gallon barrel would get filled pretty fast!!

    Unfortunately, there isn't any available space to put a pond. There is a good location that would work, however, it has lots of trees on it, and the park would be none too pleased if we chopped them all down! It would be cool if we could because then we could have a pond for the horses to play in sometimes!

    I can remeasure the building for you, Mr. Andersson, I have done it before, but I have forgotten what the numbers were. I believe it is 30 or 32' wide, and probably more than 100' long. I should also take some photos to help all of this make more sense!

    Of course, along with the system of catching the water, I also need to develop a system of transporting the water back up the hill so it can be used. The two uses that I foresee are using it to spray down the pastures to help them remain green through a drought, so we'll need some sort of tow behind (most likely) tank that has a sprayer mechanism attached, as well as drinking water for the horses, so we'll need a hose attachment, too.

    I really don't think this will be super complicated, it is simply a matter of piping and the containment.

    I'll try to get some pictures today or later this week and post again!
     
  6. Mar 15, 2012
    Mr.Andersson

    Mr.Andersson Power Conserver

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    I meant small commercial, not residenttial, lol. The tractor idea is great. How many acres of pasture? Pics would be great, I will try to come up with a cistern size for you. The pond (small system), would just be less work/cheaper than a cistern. Would it be possible to put 1500 gallon tanks at the corners of the building, above ground?

    I took a rainwater harvesting class a 3 years ago, through an irrigation supplier.

    Nice link Dawn!
     
  7. Mar 15, 2012
    hqueen13

    hqueen13 <Insert Snazzy Title Here

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    Haven't had a chance to get photos yet. We may be putting in a rain garden/planting trees this summer through a project that the park does, so at least that will help stabilize the hill and keep it from sliding into our arena!
    We have about 22 acres of pasture space. I also don't have any clue how far water would go.... I don't know anything about watering massive amounts of land.

    Temporarily we are going to run a piece of pipe from the gutter outflow that is right over the collapsing area across the hillside towards the trees, once we get close to the trees we'll perforate it so that the water will be able to be dispersed in a smaller quantity, rather than all in one spot. It will at least help in the mean time until we can get the rain garden and trees planted.

    Maybe I can get pictures this weekend....
     
  8. Mar 16, 2012
    Mr.Andersson

    Mr.Andersson Power Conserver

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    Im approxamating, but a single 2" rainfall will yeild approx 12,000 gals off that roof. I think a towable tank is an excellent idea, for the large area, and cost. Pasture area, should recieve approx 1" water/rain per week. July/august I water about 50% more, and water every 2nd/3rd day.
    One local resource maybe Aquarius Irrigation. They may offer a one or two day class on rainwater, as well as being a supplier. They may help with design as well. Check out their online store as well.
     
  9. Mar 18, 2012
    hqueen13

    hqueen13 <Insert Snazzy Title Here

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    So how many gallons would it take to water ~22 acres??
    12,000 gallons off of one rainfall is a lot, so I am suspecting we'd need maybe 50,000 gallons of capacity? We've had some WET years (this year being an exception).

    Thanks for your thoughts, I'll check out that company!! (still need to take pictures.....)
     
  10. Mar 19, 2012
    Mr.Andersson

    Mr.Andersson Power Conserver

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    .62 gals, covers one sq ft, at 1" depth. watering at approx 1/2" is .31 gals. 43,250 sq ft per acre. 13,500 gals per acre, wow. Cost for city water? Dust control at maybe 1/4"? Single application could still be 6,500 gals per acre. I will check my figures at work tommorrow, feel free to correct me if i'm not right.

    Side note, gramps had a gravity sprayer for pesticides, I believe it had a 300 gal cap. I think he watered with it as well, when it didn't rain for two weeks.

    Just a random thought, a 3' deep pond that holds 100,000 gals, would measure 132' x 220', if a pond was a box.
     

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