The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

How much rain does it take to fill an IBC tank?

Water tower

For those of you concerned about the safety of Mark's jack-support hack --- don't worry, he's going to beef up the tower some more.

In the meantime, I wanted to let a little rain flow into the IBC tank to get an idea for how much precipitation it would take to fill the reservoir. The photo above was taken in the middle of the rain event, but, much to my distress, even after the full 1.2 inches fell, the tank still looked nearly empty.

Goat kid on mushroom logs

"You know, we only have the tank plumbed to a small section of the roof," Mark reminded me. True, but surely a 50-square-foot section of roof was enough to fill up an IBC tank in short order? Time for a little math! 275 gallons of capacity equals 63,525 cubic inches. Divide that by the 7,200 square inches of roof area we have plumbed to the tank...and it would require nearly 9 inches of rainfall to fill 'er up.

Which is actually good news, although the realization will make more work for Mark. There's another nearby gutter section currently draining into what has turned into a swamp along the backside of the trailer. If we add another T and include this gutter into the IBC-collection line, then we should be able to fill up the tank with only 4.5 inches of rainfall (while drying up problematic ground). That means we'd fill the tank up every month on average, giving us plenty of water to keep the mushroom logs below well hydrated. Back to work!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Just curious, you talk about the swamp that the runoff the roof creates, but then you are planning on putting all that water right next to the house on the logs, how will you deal with all that water turning the ground below the logs into a swamp?
Comment by Anonymous Tue Apr 7 11:46:51 2015
Anonymous --- Good question. The ground can soak up the water if it comes a bit every day during the growing season, the way it will when we water the logs. It's mostly in the winter and during heavy rains that the water builds up to swamp proportions, so we plan to even out those deluges with the rain barrel (and remove excess water with the overflow pipe.)
Comment by anna Tue Apr 7 12:42:33 2015
Completely off topic - but how are you going to bring yourselves to eat Lamb Chop? He's just too adorable! And clearly likes to be around people.
Comment by Emily Tue Apr 7 14:27:54 2015
Where did you get such a big water tank? I want to look for one like that.
Comment by jom Tue Apr 7 19:30:35 2015
I don't think I would have noticed the jack support if you hadn't mentioned it. Back to the tank, what are you using to collect the water? it looks like a clever idea that would save you money in terms of whatever you are using the water for. I live in area that does not have enough annual rain, so creating a contraption like that is out of the question.
Comment by Eric Blaise Wed May 20 17:25:38 2015

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