Thursday, 31 October 2013

Down the pan.

In my quest to save precious tap water, I have set up my own Rainwater Harvesting Station. It is so designed so that any rain falling over this collection of plastic receptacles will automatically be contained, therefore being prevented from soaking into the ground.
My theory is that 30 days of continuous heavy rain will produce enough water to flush the downstairs toilet 50 times. If we have some heavy snowfalls this should increase the volume of collected water, as the snow will gradually melt into the containers.  
I have set myself the daily task of inspecting the above Harvesting Station, and removing any collected water to a large bucket next to the toilet bowl. Any floating debris such as leaves or twigs will be removed during this process, to minimise any blockages as it goes down the pan.

Should we have excessive rainfall over a long period of time, to avoid overflowing and losing collected water over the sides, plans will be put into action to empty the receptacles more often. To implement this plan it will be necessary to ask around the neighbourhood for any unwanted empty large plastic milk bottles, to store the excess water. If not enough bottles are found then it will be necessary to rob the bottles from the plastics collection bank in Tesco car park. On no account must any water be lost, such is the value of this precious commodity.

By my reckoning I predict that after a wet and cold winter of many weeks of heavy rainfall, I should be able to knock a full £5 off my water bill through severely limiting my use of tap water, in favour of using the free stuff which rains down on us all.

What are you doing to keep your water bill low? Will you be following my example?
Toodle pip.

PS. Thanks to Debbie, I have your address, I will be sending the bag tomorrow.


  1. What a woman! You amaze me and many others!

  2. When we had our present house in France built we installed a 5 cubic metre underground concrete tank to store our collected rainwater from the roof. The water is used for flushing toilets ( dual flush) and the washing machine. In four years including long dry periods every summer we have not had to turn onto mains water for these purposes. Of course it cost to install it at the start but since then our bills have been low as the main use of the water is for flushing the toilet is "free". Legally we are restricted to these two uses and have separate pipes due to the real possibility of contaminated water getting into the drinking water system otherwise.
    Helen in France (ex-pat Northern girl)

  3. Ilona,

    I save the rinse water from my clothes washing machine. The only drawback is that you have to be on the spot when the rinse water starts to drain. Remove the thick black hose from whatever it is draining into (hole in wall in my house) or sink drain and aim the water into a bucket. I can get a couple of large bucketfuls. I use this in summer to water my non-edible plants and bushes outdoors, but it would also be great for toilet flushing.

    Keep up the good work! Love your blog.

    Debbie in Illinois

  4. I have 20 rain water butts in my garden and have managed to never use mains water on my plants in the time I have lived here. I save bath and shower water to flush the toilet, no strong smelling washing products as we are on a septic tank. I harvest rain water from the house and shed roofs and from 2 glasshouses, I use a butt linkage system to prevent water overflowing and being wasted.

  5. You are making it much more difficult than you have to! Get a rain barrel! All the rain that falls off the roof drains into the barrel. The barrel is covered with a screen to keep debris out. The barrel has a spigot to retrieve the water when needed. After one good rainfall the bucket will be full. You may need more than one barrel. I love mine!

    1. I agree! A 40 or 50 gallon Rainbarrell is definitely the way to go!

  6. Ilona - do you think sometimes people take what you say a bit too seriously! :-) Good luck with your " overground rainwater harvesting receptacles!"

  7. You are amazing, Ilona, using what you have and what you can find and putting it to good use. We're not quite that careful with water, but we certainly only flush solids, and my husband and I save on bathing by having really quick washes using a hose attached to the bath taps, and only having a proper bath every 2 weeks. I've actually had a £100 refund from the water company and our direct debit reduced since we went on a meter earlier this year, and that's with 5 adults living in the house. Now if I could just get my 2 adult kids plus a live-in boyfriend to not have the bath overflowing...At least daughter and boyfriend share their bath water. Unfortunately, we can't save the bath water for flushing the loo because we have such a bad problem with condensation and leaving hot water in the tub for hours would only make it worse.

  8. Impressed! But agreeing that a water butt or two would make it easier for you, and take up less space. We have about 10 dotted around (though we're not on a meter, moved here before they were compulsory) and they've all come from the local household recycling centre; don't think we've paid more than a pound for any of them. Mind you, I use them for "washing" fleeces for hand-spinning too; leaving them in rainwater for a few months cleans them beautifully, and the resulting water's great for the plants, if a bit pongy. Rainwater's also best for dyeing.
    In Bermuda, they save all the rainwater that comes off their roofs, in big tanks built into their houses. There's no groundwater there so it was once all the water they had, for drinking & for everything else too. Luckily it rains a fair bit, even though it's warm. But that's got to be the ultimate in water self-sufficiency!

  9. I have well water so don't have to pay for water. If I did, I don't think I could lug heavy "harvesting receptacles" and would surely throw my back out. Then I would have to spend more than I'd saved on doctor's visits and pain killers! LOL
    I must say though that I don't use a lot of water, living on my own. Will you be covering your pans with screening to keep falling leaves and visiting critters out?

  10. 10 inches of snow equal one inch of rain.

  11. Clean water is our most precious commodity. Saving all we can is something we all should be doing. You go girl!

  12. Fabulous :-) I have a well and don't pay for water but I always love how ingenious you are :-)

  13. Our water bill is a fixed amount because we haven't got a water meter but if we had i'd be collecting water too. Theres more than enough rain round here, near Manchester, so we would be quids in.
    I think the water butt idea sounds easiest but theres the small matter of obtaining one and connecting it to the downspout.

  14. my parents got a water butt from the council when they moved in. I am not sure if it was free or heavily subsidised. Any ways, they use the water butt to fill up 4 pint milk bottles. The neighbours collected them for them.


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