About the Project
As more humans continue to populate the earth, and as resources grow more finite each year, people are becoming self-sufficient and creating secondary supplies to meet basic needs such as food, water and electricity. In the country, acreages face unique challenges if a primary supply, like ground water, runs out. On an acreage, ground water is stored in a well and is used to complete daily tasks like bathing and watering crops. If a well breaks or is compromised, acreages are without a fresh water supply and may not have the luxury of relying on municipal water resources. An OnGrowing Works client who lives on an acreage near Cochrane, Aberta experienced this scenario when their well failed during a large family function. Realizing how critical it is to have fresh water available should their main supply fail, the client wanted to install a water harvesting system on their acreage to increase water resiliency and support sustainable practices. They engaged OnGrowing Works to get the job done.
OnGrowing Works first began by researching how much rainfall occurred in the area, as well as how much water the family used per day. This planning informed the design and allowed us to determine how much water needed to be collected per month in the event that a month went by with no rain. Based on this research, we determined that 1,500 gallons per month of water (18,000 gallons per year) needed to be captured in an underground storage tank.
Next, OnGrowing Works deisgned a method to capture snow melt and rainwater off the roof of the client’s house. A water harvesting best practice is to only capture water off a metal roof because they’re coated in a galvanized external layer of zinc that makes it rust-resistant. This means that water won’t be contaminated by toxins when it hits the roof, helping to ensure that the water is healthy.
Next, we installed a water harvesting storage tank, and thanks to OnGrowing Works’ design, pre-filtration systems (installed by Pro H20) and biofilms on the tank’s surface also extracted toxins. The system also gives the client the choice to add additional filters in the future if they want more filtration. In addition, gutters were used to create a water conveyance system that moved rain water from the roof to a sealed pipe and into the storage tank. Insulation was also added to ensure that the pipes don’t freeze in the winter.
Once all systems were installed, the water was tested by Alberta Health Services to confirm that it was healthy drinking water. Next, the tank was covered, and today, the only indication that there is something underground is a load-rated lid green circular patch on the lawn that shows where the tank is so that the client can access the filter and water pump. This circular patch is safe to drive over with a vehicle or lawn mower.
Through OnGrowing Works’ design and installation, the client now has a sustainable water harvesting system on their acreage that provides a secondary supply of clean drinking water. Should their current well malfunction or if there is a drought, the client can be self-sufficient and confident in their secondary water resource and not have to rely on municipalities in an emergency. In addition, thanks to the biofilms in the tank, the client needs to do minimal work to keep their water harvesting system and water clean.