England is no stranger to drought, especially during the country’s warmer seasons. As a result, in some areas the government usually bans supplemental irrigation when it comes to lack of rain. In fact, in the western part of the country, the government has banned garden hose irrigation. But that didn’t stop an elderly man from watering his garden.
Because Peter Harden has been storing tons of rainwater in huge catch basins for around half a decade. Incredibly, he’s already stored 6,000 liters of water, which is roughly 1,500 gallons, which allows him to keep his garden quite lush.
Harden, 82, is a retired teacher who has lived in his beloved bungalow for 52 years. Notably, he first installed his stormwater collection tanks in 1976 after England experienced the drought known as the “Standpipe Drought” of 1975-1976.
Harden, who happens to be a keen gardener, shared how he noticed that droughts in the UK were getting worse and more intense over the years, which inspired him to take extra precautions, sharing tips from the European holidays from himself and received from his wife.
Harden explains: “Our trips abroad in Europe over the past 50 years have often included cultural visits to ancient Greek and Roman cities. We were always impressed by how many underground cisterns in the house the Römer et al. prefabricated to capture rainwater for very dry summers.”
“With this in mind, I gradually increased the number and size of my rainwater collection tanks until about 15 years ago I had nine 375 liter tanks that were fed directly with rainwater from the bungalow’s gutter,” he adds.
A key reason Mr Harden is so committed to his project is that the area he lives in happens to be one of the driest areas in the UK, with the drought in the country the clay is actually starting to crack.
And as the region experiences another terrible drought, the worst in 26 years, protecting municipal water supplies is a top priority. For this reason, the whistle of hope ban was introduced in certain parts of the West Country.
Harden continues, “We live in an area with one of the lowest mean rainfalls in the country. We get about 22 inches a year.” About eight years ago he added two more 1,000 liter intermediate bulk containers to his 9 catch tanks. He recently added two more.
Its large water tanks are located at the end of the garden and are filled directly with a garden hose from some of the 375 liter collection tanks.
Harden declares “Using an electrically powered submersible water pump, I pump water from one of the tanks through a garden hose through a sprinkler attached to the garden hose.”
“When the water level in one tank drops, it levels out in the other tanks due to gravity feeding through the interconnected pipes. Three of my original 375 liter tanks have since become unusable and I am waiting to replace them. I’m also trying to buy two more 1,000 liter bulk tanks to increase my water storage volume,” he adds.
Harden has no plans to slow down either. He hopes to be able to store at least 9,000 liters in the near future. And given his pace, we wouldn’t be surprised if he gets there sooner rather than later.
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