DIY Water Storage

Examples of DIY Water Storage include cisterns and reservoirs — solutions that may be perfect for your rural home.

| March 2014

  • DIY Water Storage can be the way to go for effective rural solutions, but make sure that the containers are cleared to hold water.
    Photo by Fotolia/
  • “Country & Cottage Water Systems,” from author Max Burns, takes the guesswork out of rural water workings, and offers DIY projects that lets anyone improve their H2O situation.
    Cover courtesy Cottage Life Books

With solid and easy-to-understand advice, Country & Cottage Water Systems (Cottage Life Books, 2010) is perfect for anyone who needs help comprehending the mysteries of rural water systems. From wells to outhouses, Max Burns, has the DIY projects and illustrations needed to bring the clean water in and send the waste out. The excerpt from “Water Sources: Assessing your options” shows that a DIY Water Storage system can be perfect when faced with drought or other water restrictions.

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Country & Cottage Water Systems

DIY Water Storage

Cisterns, reservoirs, and rain barrels usually depend on rainfall for supply. Yet for those coping with low-yielding wells, or drought, the added reserve of a storage system can be a welcome relief, whether for household use, gardening, or even fire fighting.

To help keep pollutants out, the storage container must be watertight, the inlet and outlet providing the sole points of entry and egress. Its interior surface should be smooth and nonabsorbent to discourage various aqua-creeps (such as algae and pathogenic microorganisms) from collecting in cracks and crevices. Pay particular attention to the openings for cleaning, filling, and draining, as rough joints can be breeding grounds for the aqua-creeps. And any container should be easily accessible for cleaning.

Concrete, parged concrete block, steel, or plastic are all acceptable materials for water-storage tanks. Concrete-block tanks, and in most cases poured concrete ones as well, are constructed on site. Steel containers can also be custom fabricated to suit your particular need, or purchased ready-made. Plastic containers are ready-made, either in fibreglass or high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Wooden rain barrels, the choice of romantics, regrettably make swell homes for microorganisms. So treat any water stored in wooden containers before drinking it — even if you've collected the water from a potable source.

Because of its durability, affordability, and modest weight, the HDPE tank has become the preferred choice. It comes in a seemingly endless variety of shapes and sizes, and can be installed above or below ground. Some are designed to fit perfectly in the bed of a pickup, just behind the cab, for easy frequent transport of smaller quantities (e.g. American Tank Co.), while others store nicely in the usually wasted space under the typical 54" mattress and box spring (e.g. Diverse Plastic Tanks). Because HDPE containers are often marketed for agricultural use, stores serving farming communities will sometimes keep a few in stock.
5/7/2018 9:04:05 PM

I used the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to build my own water storage – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha Go to WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans :)

6/12/2014 12:47:47 AM

I have been using these tanks for about four years now. I catch the rain runoff from my roof with guttering and direct it into the tanks. Currently I have four but plan to add at least four more as money permits. Vic where I live the tanks are available at a resale/consignment store that carries them, plastic barrels, and metal barrels in addition to their other merchandise. They come from Tyson and other food processing plants in the area and contained wine, cooking oil, Woostershire sauce, etc. that is used in processing the various food items.

6/11/2014 9:07:04 AM

FYI----Used IBC tanks that are food friendly and cleaned out, used maybe once, and in perfect condition go for about $100. You can easily get two inside a regular 8-ft. pickup bed, and they can be loaded by hand--by a a single person--just use a little common sense and some leverage and they are easy to load. Make sure you get a good top lid and a ball valve (much better) at the bottom and not a flap valve (they leak).

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters