Monday, August 31, 2009

Ole-Timey Cistern Yields Present-Day Savings

Tarnation! Take a gander at Dusty Diary's latest water bill from the YCUA. This August's water consumption is a measly 1/5 of what it was last August!

That's thanks to our two new rain cisterns, fed by downspouts. They're like rain barrels, but instead of purchasing pricey rain barrels, we did it up in full Ypsitucky splendor, and just buried two $12 trash cans in the ground. The cans are covered when not in use to prevent skeeterage.

Looks like they covered all of our outdoor watering needs for August, saving hundreds of dollars! And that's even with a large garden covering most of the back yard. Many Ypsilanti homes used to have cisterns for a water supply. One more old-time tradition that's a real benefit to us today.


cmadler said...

How do you use the water out of your cisterns?

My understanding is that rain barrels are usually installed on a raised platform, so that gravity/water pressure will cause it to flow through a hose.

Do you just dip a watering can in there? How do you get the water when the level is very low?

Dusty D said...

I dip my big watering cans in. When the water is low, I refill it a bit from reserve buckets, since I usually dip out several 5-gal. buckets' worth of rain when it rains, so as to allow room for more rain to collect in the cistern itself.

Lisele said...

I, too, have been cheating YCUA by collecting rainwater. I like your ingenious idea of burying the trash cans. I saw a really elegant terracotta urn (plastic, really) in Ann Arbor for collecting rainwater -- it was at Downtown Home & Garden. Very chichi.

Dusty D said...

Lisele: It's only the ingenuity born of cheapness. At any rate, in the Green Tent at the Heritage Fest, there was a display of a rain barrel camouflaged to look like brick. It was a firm that took a picture of your house, made a big photo-wrap for your rain barrel, and wrapped it up in the camouflage. I thought it was pretty darn ingenious.