Even though the English government recently announced a ban on garden hose watering in the west of the country, Peter Harden has kept right on hosing worry-free.
That’s because Harden has been storing rainwater in large catch thanks for almost 50 years, and with 6,000 liters (1,500 gallons) of water available to him, his paddock is the greenest on the block.
An 82-year-old retired teacher, Peter Harden has lived in his bungalow for 52 years, and said he installed his first rainwater catch tanks after a famous English drought in 1976.
The keen gardener noticed droughts in the UK were getting more intense and became inspired to take precautions by he and his wife’s holidays to Europe.
“Our holidays abroad in Europe over 50 years frequently included cultural visits to ancient Greek and Roman towns,” said Harden. “We were always impressed by the huge number of domestic underground cisterns that the Romans et al. pre-built to catch rainwater for very dry summers.”
“With this experience in mind, I gradually increased the number and size of my rainwater catch tanks until about 15 years ago when I had nine 375 liter capacity tanks fed directly by rainwater from the bungalow’s guttering.”
But why such dedication? Peter lives in one of the driest areas in the UK. The clay beneath his property in Ingoldsby, Lincolnshire, does hold water, but as soon as the UK gets a drought the clay starts to crack.
Now the region is experiencing its worst drought in 26 years, and to protect municipal water reserves, a hose pipe ban has been introduced in parts of the West Country.
“We live in an area with one of the lowest mean rainfalls in the country. We get a circa of 22 inches per year,” said Harden, who about eight years ago supplemented his 9 catch tanks with two more, 1,000 liter (250 gallon) intermediate bulk containers, before adding another pair just recently.
The bulk water containers sit at the bottom of the garden and are filled directly by garden hose from some of the 375-liter catch tanks.
“Using an electrically-powered submersible water pump, I pump water through a garden hose from one of the tanks through a spray attached to the garden hose,” he explained.
“As the level of water falls in the one tank it levels out in the other tanks through gravity feed through the interconnected pipes.
“Three of my original 375-liter tanks have since become unserviceable and I am waiting to replace them. I also am trying to buy two more 1,000 liter bulk containers to increase my water storage volume.”
Not slowing down, he says he aims to store 9,000 liters soon.