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Water reserve.

 
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I am looking to install a large water storage tank  to water my garden during periods of draught.    I have about 1200 square feet in raised beds.  I am looking for enough  water to water the garden a couple of times.  To be clear, I am in an area where there is 46 inches of annual rain fall.   I also have a pond that is about a acres and averages 10 feet deep at present.  My objective with the tank is to reduce the number of time I have to start my pump to get water out of the pond.
 
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So you store the water in acre pond that is 10ft deep.
But you want a mid-way point storage tank, so that you can reduce how often you turn on the pump?

Why exactly do you want to reduce how often you use the pump? Do you have frequent power outage; are off-grid and want to water at night?

If you are turning on the pump 8 or so times a day, each for 10minutes duration. I dont think it makes sense to get a tank to extend the life of the pump.

1200sqft x 1inch of water per week = 750gallon.
So if you got a 1000gallon tank you could fill it up only once a week.
Will you use gravity flow to water the garden from the tank or will use you another set of pump?



 
John F Dean
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Hi S

Make that a 2 acre pond.
 
John F Dean
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Yes, gravity  flow from the tank to the garden.  

I am trying to reduce the number of times I have to start the gasoline operated pump.  
 
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Assuming the pond is lower than your gardens and gravity feed is out of the question. I'd say instead of buying a giant eyesore of a tank you could get into the Sepp holzer  terrace style stuff.

Build a jack spirko style timber frame pond with 2 release valves and use a solar powered pump at the pond. Add agricultural terracing/ swales between the garden and the pond and let the solar powered pump run water into the high pond daily and leak back down your swales to the pond. You could cut off the valve and shut off pump if you don't like it running continuously but also you could set timers so that you always have an 8×8×4 ft pond available for watering via the second valve and you could grow bluegill crappie or catfish in it.


Even if you don't wish to do all that id say looking into a timber frame pond as a storage tank is a viable option for a lower price and more appealing aesthetically.
Best of luck
 
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Can you calculate how many gpm the pump is providing when it runs and then how long you water to determine how many gallons you're putting on each time.  That may be a very helpful piece of data.

Gravity watering is a different animal though.  How much head will you have from the tank to the garden?  Drip irrigation needs some pressure and you need 2.3 feet of head to get 1 psi.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Clay,

Yes the pond is lower than the garden.   You have a great idea, but most of the land above the garden is in use.
 
Clay Bunch
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Mike Haasl wrote:

Gravity watering is a different animal though.  How much head will you have from the tank to the garden?  Drip irrigation needs some pressure and you need 2.3 feet of head to get 1 psi.



Thanks Mike thats very helpful info!

I've been trying to determine how high I'd need raise my rainwater tanks to use it effectively on my drip irrigation.  Math is easier than building twice!
 
S Bengi
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If you are going to do gravity drip irrigation, you will probably need 15psj or 40ft of head. So the tank needs to be elevated 40ft above the garden.
You can get away with a 100gallon water tank(4 IBC tote) if you refill it daily, seeing as how you need 750gallon per week. I recommend filling it up with a pump attached to a solar panel.

Alternatively you could get rid of the gas powered pump and tank setup that you are envisioning and only get a solar powered pump, without any tank.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Mike,

The calculations are a little questionable due to my use of raised beds.  Beyond any doubt, the tank will be on a platform  that is at least 2 feet tall. Best guess is that the bottom of the tank will be 5 to 6 feet above the top of the highest raised bed.
 
John F Dean
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Hi S,

I do have a 2000+ watt solar array.  But I also already own the gas operated pump and a couple of 200 gallon tanks that puts me wll on my way. My concern is in expanding the reserve volume.
 
Mike Haasl
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John F Dean wrote:Best guess is that the bottom of the tank will be 5 to 6 feet above the top of the highest raised bed.

 Ok, then it sounds like you'll either have to pump the water down from the tanks to the garden to develop pressure or you'll just be hand watering (which is fine also).  

Edit:  Or maybe a system of filling mini-reservoirs, ollahs or swales in each raised bed so that you can dump 20 gallons quickly into a bed and have it soak in.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Mike,

I like your thinking.  I am thinking I can get some smaller 30 gal tanks for free and locate them at each raised bed.  That, plus what I already have will take me well past my total gallon goal.
 
S Bengi
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52inch per year = 1 inch per week
1 inch per week over 1200sqft = 750gallons per week ( 107gallong per day)

So I think the 100gallon per day number is accurate, but lets double it to 200gallon per day just to be safe.

Seeing as how you don't plan on creating a 40ft (15psi) elevation for the gravity feed setup. I can only assume you are going to use some type of flooded trench/mini-swale setup in the middle of the beds.

You stated that you would like to run the pump less often. How often do you currently run the pump now and how often are you trying to run it once you get the new tank. Are you aiming for every other day? Once a Week or Once a month?

What irrigation style do you use now and how could it be optimized.

To me an ideal setup would be were you could leave the farm for 7-14days and you have self watering and self-feeding things setup for plants and animals.





 
John F Dean
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I live in an area that generally sees a draught in August of a couple to 3 weeks.  This year we have had an unusually high amount of rain, so it is a good time to plan this.  

The pump has been used twice, last year, for the garden. I would anticipate needing 3 weeks of watering.   My goal is to reduce the use of the pump and still keep the garden healthy.
 
Mike Haasl
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For two to three watering events a year, I'm guessing you could tolerate watering by hand?  With a larger garden hose (3/4"), or especially if you have a large supply to the garden and then a hose, you'd have quite good flow to enable fast watering.  It just wouldn't have much pressure.  I'd guess you could manually water the garden in an hour.  

In the end, the complexity of the water delivery system may want to be balanced against how easy you want it to be.

For instance, making reservoirs for each bed might take days to implement.  If hand watering from a hose takes an hour per event, you'd take a decade to pay back the initial time investment in reservoirs.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Mike,

I think you may be ignoring the fun factor. But to stay practical,  if I reduce a 2 inch hose down to  a garden hose on a gas operated pump, am I correct in assuming I will need some kind of pressure release valve in place to protect the pump?
 
Mike Haasl
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I'm really looking forward to an answer from someone who knows more about that than me.  

I believe that if you block off a pump or fan, they spin easier since they don't have to do as much work.  So they'd rather be blocked off than wide open.  The issue could be heat build up if the cold water isn't there.  So my hunch is that you're fine restricting it but I'm very interested to hear from others on this.
 
John F Dean
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I just reread the instruction manual. Lots of caution regarding low water,  low oil, and low air.  Nothing regarding restrictions on the discharge end of things. If I can't get a clear answer, out of an abundance of caution, I will probably make a manifold that I can hook several hoses to.
 
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I have run a gas pump necked down to a garden hose without issue, for a season. It was a relatively small one, 1.5" suction & discharge.

No idea whether I was supposed to, but it didn't seem to cause any problems...
 
John F Dean
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Thanks D!
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