NZ is on a fault line, and Wellington particularly is vulnerable to earthquakes. Periodically those in “power” tell us what we need to do to prepare for that eventuality. The industrious and responsible among us will have had an emergency kit ready for years. The more lackadaisical and procrastinating types probably haven’t got round to it yet.
The one thing we have done in our household is making sure we have a backup supply of water. Not a huge amount, but we have about 100 litres, which would last us maybe 3 days.
One issue is that the Wellington water pipes are in terrible condition and if we get cut off from the rest of the North Island, we might not have water for way more than a few days. According to Wellington Water, it might take up to 100 days to get the supply back to some areas.
So part of our “prepping for just in case the world goes to hell in a hand basket” project has been thinking about how we can collect our own rainwater and have a somewhat larger backup supply.
This post covers some of the options we’ve found for collection, and part 2 will be about how to store and use the water safely.
People with lifestyle blocks or on farms will already have large tanks for this purpose, but we’re perched on the side of a hill, and the only bit of flat land we have is about at the level of our roof. And besides, we just converted most of it into a food producing garden.
So I’ve been researching some other options.
How much water might you need?
Some ballpark figures to help you figure it out:
Wellington City Council estimates non-commercial water consumption at an average of 220 litres per person per day, overall uses. The pic below is from one of their handouts.
For drinking, cooking, and basic hygiene, WCC recommends storing 20L per person per day, for a minimum of 7 days. [If you were unlucky enough to be in an area that took 100 days to get supply back, and had no way of collecting rainwater, that’s 2000L per person you’d want. Yikes. But that’s the worst-case scenario, and kiwis are resourceful.]
Showering takes approx 9.5 L per minute
Running your garden hose for an hour uses up to 400 litres, depending on water pressure.
Before you buy
Check out the regulations in your area.
Info from WCC on installing water tanks, including whether you need consent can be found here.
Outdoors = check for your area, but prob not
Indoors, eg if you want to plumb the water back into the house = yes
Here are some examples of
Above Ground Tanks
smaller tanks. There may be other options, or they may be available from other suppliers.
200 L – from the Tank Guy
The Wellington City Council have sourced the bulk of these 200L tanks at a discount, so they are available to buy for a very reasonable cost (about $115), and you don’t need a huge space to put them in. They can be hooked up to collect rainwater, or if that’s not possible, you can fill them from the mains. They are:
H 1200mm W 650mm
Easy to transport (fit in the back seat of most cars) and simple to install
Food grade, UV-resistant plastic
Fittings are included
Available in dark green or as pictured
Can be linked together but would need to buy extra hardware
They can be purchased from:
The Tip Shop Landfill Road Owhiro Bay which is open from 9 am to 4.30 pm daily
Ringing ahead to check if they have stock, or to order, is recommended.
stormPANEL stormwater tanks store excess stormwater above ground and slowly release it into the council stormwater system. They can also provide water storage for reuse in your garden to save on water rates. So make sure your installer knows how you want to use it.
1,000L stormPANEL – 1,950mm high x 1,520mm long x 460mm deep
2,000L stormPANEL (COMING SOON) – 1,950mm high x 3,130 mm long x 460mm deep
Ultra-slim above-ground water tank.
When space is tight, stormPANEL tanks are ideal for existing and new homes.
New Water ~ the website doesn’t seem to work very well, but they seem to have a slimline under deck/floor product that could be good for small spaces, so might be worth giving them a ring ~ 0800 4 NEW WATER