Friday, March 27, 2015

Hauling In Water

It's been three weeks since the last significant rainfall. The soil is beginning to dry out. So it's time to water the gardens and bring in livestock drinking water. I have a large catchment tank down by the main gardens that I can use to irrigate them with, but the scattered smaller gardens have no convenient water supply. What to do? Haul water in. 

Prior to the early January windstorm, I used a transport tank for hauling. It held 330 gallons. 
(Above- squashed white water transport tank.)

Actually it was way too large for my truck. 330 gallons weighs 2,754 lbs. Although my truck has been beefed up for trailering purposes, that's still over its stated ability. So I had to be real careful and drive slowly. I eventually changed to using a trailer, but that also meant being very careful and slow. Someone once suggested that I only fill the tank half way. Not a good idea. The water would have sloshed back and forth, possibly throwing the truck or trailer out of control. The sloshing actually could have torn the trailer right off its hitch, making for a disaster. There's no way to avoid the sloshing since the road between me and the water source climbs up the mountain via lots of zigzags. 

The windstorm squashed my transport tank. I looked into replacing it with a smaller tank. I was surprised about the cost. Then another local farmer offered me two small transport tanks. I initially was going to use them for hauling, but found a better use for each. The smaller one (25 gallons) now stores livestock water for the chickens and rabbits. The larger one (50 gallons) stores the daily water for the donkeys, horse, sheep, and goats.
 Having those two tanks has made my life far easier and saves me a lot of daily time by eliminating all the running back & forth. So I decided to leave them be as is. (Katie, thanks from my heart for those tanks. I thank you every time I use them.)

So I decided to try something else. Very conveniently our local hardware store had commercial rubbermaid trashcans on sale for $20, with an additional $2 off for senior day (ah-ha, the benefit for being old!) Since they could be multi-use items, I decided to buy 8 .....the number that fit comfortably in the truck bed. Trashcans are also great for hauling grass clippings, storing feed, storing just about anything. Buying 8 was less than half the price of a transport tank that I was eyeing up. Before buying them I did some quick math. Figuring on loading about 25 to 28 gallons of water into each trashcan, that brings the load weight to well under a ton. Good. 

I quickly discovered that loading the trashcan with water and using the lid to hold it in doesn't work. The sloshing pops the lid right off. I tried using bungee cords to hold on the lid, but the sloshing got violent enough to empty most of the cans by up to 1/2 even though the lids couldn't completely fly off. No, those lids just couldn't handle the water action on the curves and hills. Water sloshed out everywhere. I nicely watered the asphalt on my way home. Now that I had invested hard earned cash in those trashcans, I wasn't about to give up in the can idea. But in the back of my mind I knew that at least I'd have other uses for the cans if I failed on this one. That was a bit of a consolation. 

 I knew from experience with my original transport tank that the water couldn't slosh if it was filled to the top. Plus I've seen pictures of collapsible water transport bags that could be used in the truck bed. Hummm. Out of those two juicy thoughts came the idea of containing the water using a trash bag in the can. Grabbing some heavy duty contractor bags, I stuffed one into a trashcan, filled it with water, and tied it shut with a string (I now use a short length of electric fence cord. Strong, easy to tie and untie, reusable.) Bingo! It worked. To further test out the idea I loaded the whole truck with all 8 cans. Success. 

I use a short length of standard garden hose to fill the trashcans. It takes 18 minutes for a fill up. 

Next to get the water out of the cans. 

That will be a story for another post. 

1 comment:

  1. Very Akamai! It reminds me of the lack of slosh in box wines, unless air gets in. Getting the water out could maybe be easy: Have you tried a piece of garden hose as a siphon? There are even battery-powered transfer pumps, if necessary. I'd bet you could connect each bag to its neighbor with siphons, with one hose leading off-truck, fitted with a shut-off. But a DIY 240 gallon water transport - genius!