18. A spot of plumbing

My first toilet is upstaged by a blue whale of a rainwater tank.

24th April 2014

Water is blue, right? Well, no, it's actually transparent. You can see right through it! Yet blue is the colour of water technology. Not a particularly nice blue either, just an in-yer-face, don't-mistake-me-for-anything-electric blue. 

Today I took delivery of a 1500 litre bright blue rainwater tank from Rainwater Harvesting Ltd. I wanted to get this on site before the build starts because it won't be easy to get it into the back garden once the house is built. Given how much we plan to grow in our back garden, in the heart of water-stressed London, there's a risk of becoming an excessive consumer of mains water. So the obvious thing to do is to use everything that comes off the roof. We will be using this tank for the garden only; inside the house the emphasis will be on water efficiency to keep our consumption as low as possible.

It's a big tank but a simple enough system: the water from our big mono-pitched roof will come down a drainpipe at the back of the house into a raised pond.; the pond will overflow into the tank, which will be buried under the patio; and a pump inside the tank will provide a pressurised supply to a tap on the wall from where we will be able to keep our small but intensive fruit garden well-watered.

The tank arrived just as I was attaching the lid to the site toilet. As we already have a manhole connected to the sewer, the familiar blue chemical box can be avoided in favour of a fully functioning flushing loo with oyster-shell seat. Phew, no blue.


  1. Excellent solution to a growing problem sir.

    To ask a stupid question.....burying the water tank under the patio with a water pump inside it...what happens when the pump fails? Do you have to dig up the patio just to get at it?

  2. Fortunately the blue whale has a wide black mouth which can swallow a man whole! So no problem if the pump needs replacing.