Friday, March 21, 2014

rain catchment

Note: no guest article this weekend. It was too much trying to play catch-up on the comments.  I'm posting them side by side with my articles next Monday through Wednesday.
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RAIN CATCHMENT

Back in the day when petroleum gushed from every pore in Texas, most folks used a wind powered pump to get water out of the land sitting on top of a whole lot of dry. Now that the only gushers are the Federal Reserve creating money trying to keep Fracking companies profitable at $100 a barrel oil, and petroleum is as dear as a kind word from your author, every idiot out there is using carbon fuels ( or carbon fueled maintained or manufactured alternatives ) to pump water from deeper and deeper depths. If you are one of these idiots, I submit to you that whatever little love the wife is coughing up in return for her luxurious bath or blooming flowerbed in the drought stricken West will be of little compensation when that expensive hole in the ground dries up. Rates out here in the high desert are $60 a foot, just for the casing. My cost to peer down to the water table would run nine grand and pump and power extra. Me and the wife have an understanding. She gets almost zero luxuries like well water and I get about as much in return.

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For under a grand I can install a rain catchment system. Depending on the size of the tank, of course. A pair of 55 gallon drums ain’t going to be enough but I certainly can’t afford a thousand gallon tank either- so, something in between. But I only need 300 square feet of metal sheeting for the roof ( and, should I just tap into the small junker trailer roof, half that ). Let’s do the math. I assume a survival rate of two gallons a day per person. This is based on experience with hauling water, not a theory. This is what we use in bathing and drinking and cooking, with a small margin left. The formula for rain catchment is roof times inches times 0.623. One hundred square feet ( that is ten by ten or equivalent ) of roof delivers sixty gallons of water per one inch of rain delivered. At ten inches a year, I get 600 gallons per 100 square foot of roof. I need 150 square feet of roof, not much more than a shed covered by two sides of eight by eight roof each.

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Now, obviously there are caveats. I need to double check our annual amount of rain to make sure that isn’t including snow into the equation which would skew the figures. And it isn’t enough for livestock or crops. It is more of a “retreat atop a mountain with storage food” minimum. And, yes, I know the weather is screwy and undependable. There is still the river a mile down the road. All the street runoff from town fills it up nicely even when the snowpacks are gone ( note to self: post-apoc activity is sending small kids down to clean the storm drains and catch rats for dinner ). I feel better relying on rains, even fluctuating, than on man made machines. Catchment is a butt simple ancient and proven way to drink in arid regions. Have multiple tanks for security, and if your state “owns” your roof water, move immediately. Next thing you know, you’ll be taxed for eating butter ( even with low cholesterol ).

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26 comments:

  1. Too bad about the weekend guest articles James; I rather enjoyed them as a nice filler, but can sympathize with the extra work on your end.

    The rain cachement idea sounds like a good investment. Being in the high desert, I would think that you would also receive decent runoff in the low lands from the snow capped peaks, resulting in near surface ground water? But of course, this is dependent on how your land is situated?

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    1. I know Tue morning was not normal, being a three day weekend. BUT. 27 comments total. I can't respond to but a few and then I look like an asshat for ignoring loyal minions. Not much decent runoff anymore from snow. I still contend the West is going into a 500-1,000 year drought.

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  2. Good article. With water catchment, like with all other preps, you need to think about what you "produce" plus what you need to store. Work toward a three-month supply of water as the minimum capacity of your storage tanks. Above ground tanks can often be added easily over time, directing the overflow of one to the next.
    You need to be able to even things out across the year as the water per month collected will vary over the year. You also have to factor in less than perfect catchment (more likely only 75-80% of rain actually captured). I put catchment in for every structure on my property that is at least 50 sq ft of roof (e.g., 6x8 foot in size). Just size the rain barrel accordingly.

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    1. 3 months might be okay for me and the old hag-I already have a month stored just in small jugs-but add in the Outlaws and 3 months rain is way too big a container. Unless I have enough time to keep adding. I really need to step up my priority on building something soon, even if it is only a start.

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  3. Sad but true, the snowfall very much is figured into that yearly 10 inch total. In fact without the snow figured in , the number might well be closer to 2 or 3 inches. Yet even then a lot of that comes in monsoon type gulley washers that dump much in a local area. Luck of the draw there. Still I highly recomend for you to start making as large a cistern as you can. You can always add on overflow storage given time....

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    1. Appreciate the info. My main source will remain the river but I want the back-up.

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    2. This free manual on rainwater harvesting might give you some ideas: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/hq/pdf/texas_rw_harvestmanual_3rdedition.pdf

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    3. Thanks for the link. I wonder if Oregon has a book on how to kiss Obammies ass as you die of thirst waiting for bottle water shipments.

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  4. Jim, you can build a cistern by digging a pit, lining it with plastic and covering it with some lumber and dirt.Of course we know how easy digging in for you. A small hole will provide many gallons of storage. Also, if you use barrels, you say you use 2 gallons a day? More with the outlaws? A 55 gallon barrel is pretty cheap. Several of them could store quite a bit of water.

    Good article. I get decent rain here in South Mississippi. I need to get off my ass and set up a catchment system. I have 300 square feet on just my metal roof shed. Dont do shingle roofs because of toxic chemicals being leached,

    Thanks for the article.

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    1. Okay, now I feel like a dumbass. Didn't think about a simple hole with pond liner.

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    2. Covered, of course, freezing being the default weather condition.

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    3. Maybe an outdoor swimming pool could be scrounged, a whole lot of folks buy one and later pass after they encounter the maintenance on these things. Even the small 10 footer x 2' deep 'kiddie pool' holds quite a bit of water.

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    4. I'd think the plastic is wrong for drinking water. Not a bad idea, I'd just be a little leary.

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  5. From your post: "A pair of 55 gallon drums ain’t going to be enough but I certainly can’t afford a thousand gallon tank either - so, something in between."

    You may want to look into some of these: http://elko.craigslist.org/fod/4281905311.html (Note that these are in Reno despite the listing on Craigslist for Elko).

    They hold 250 gallons and are quite popular where I live. Since they are intrinsically palletized they are easier (read "usually cheaper") to ship than the round tanks.

    These are also used by our local water treatment plants to hold the chemicals they use. Occasionally they will sell them as surplus. Perhaps the Elko water treatment plant does the same...

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    1. They sell those all over the place here. I still need to check out the price.

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  6. Anyone without a non-municipal water supply should catch the rain ... anyone in the arid regions - hop to it! Here in the Southeast I routinely use it during the late spring/summer for the garden( AKA Food). Droughts ain't never gonna play nice.

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    1. Shouldn't that read- everyone, ESPECIALLY those on municipal water...

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    2. nope those on municipal water supply WILL get billed at best and possibly sued or arrested for collecting rainfall- cant upset the monopoly you know.
      BUT having the stuff disguised should work as the municipal water workers have better things to do than check every 'decorative raised planter bed' that happens to have a down spout toward it...

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  7. re bolt or semiauto and waste of ammo
    Under stress as when facing an advancing horde some lose their cool, fire wildly and miss until their tacti-cool black plastic semiauto rifle runs dry. Twenty rounds wasted. Our hero does so because he has never made a kill and does not understand the power of the cartridge. Any farm boy who has killed a 400 lb hog with one shot 22LR to the head knows he has little to fear. If you threaten that boy or his family he knows that one round puts you down and out. With your favorite homeland defence rifle shoot a milk jug of water. The effect on a human body is very similar.
    The brown shoe army taught me one shot one kill. My old Garand 3006 rifle waiting patiently muzzle down beside my bed is the last loud word. After I kill eight I will have time to reload.

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    1. Amazing how well folks could do prior to the thirty round mag.

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    2. "Amazing how well folks could do prior to the thirty round mag."

      Yep. When everybody had a musket, the playing field was pretty even.

      You with your musket against a couple of dudes with thirty round magazines....

      Maybe not so well.

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    3. A week or two hiden and all those mags should be pretty empty.

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  8. I think that I understand....

    You don't give the wife well water, therefore... she doesn't get wet for you?

    I see.

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  9. BTW get your lazy ass (capped with the finest hair 3 feet above) in gear! a tarp funneling toward a barrel with a screen on it. DONE. 1 one day you have started rainwater collection. Sure it probably ain't fit to _drink_ yet but water has lots of uses. And the practice will show you what will and wont work for your area and what you need to concentrate on.
    Around here during drought we get 13 inches a year- a lot of that frozen- so it is a bit harder but we have already started watering plants last summer with rain water- and discovered how hard it is to keep the BUGS out... something to work on for this spring/summer, and the permanent structure we are building on our land.

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    1. My issue is the wind. The twat never stops and nothing blocks it. A tarp is a waste of money because the wind will destroy it quick. Money isn't even the issue, its getting the wood and sheets from town. Soonest, I'm getting more nervous than ever.

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