Building water reservoirs
IN these times of rising water prices, infrastructure deficits and drought, Hilton resident Bernard Preston is wondering why people are not building more underground reservoirs in their gardens, as he has.
Preston said he first encountered these relatively simple rain water harvesting reservoirs during a sevenyear stint in Holland. Knowing the Midlands was in a water crisis, he built one in his garden in Hilton.
The 27 000litre capacity reservoir, four metres in diameter, two metres deep, harvests more than 200 000 litres of rain water per year, which is pumped into the house, pool and large garden.
Preston said there is little doubt in his mind that the reservoir has proved costeffective.
Many employment opportunities could be created if more homeowners built these reservoirs, he said.
“In the summer it’s totally unlimited, obviously in the winter we are more cautious. Only once in six years (for a month during the apex of the last drought) have we had to use mains water,” he said.
The cost of the reservoir, at the time of building, was about
R15 000, built in two weeks by a team of about six men.
Preston said the advantages of their reservoir are:
1. There are no losses.
2. The water is free. Pumping would cost a fee; in his situation this is free as they have solar energy.
3. The water is pristine — they have even dispensed with filtering, which they did in earlier years.
4. The underground water is very cold, limiting bacterial activity. Umgeni Water tests shows zero E.coli in spite of hadedas on their roof occasionally.
5. They are unaffected by Umgeni or municipal problems.
6. There are no maintenance costs.
7. The reservoirs require only a small pump to be imported, and no reticulation is needed.
It only requires three men or a mechanical backhoe to construct the underground reservoir, says Hilton resident Bernard Preston.