Rainwater cisterns

  • Rainwater cisterns

    Posted by coyotech on January 16, 2023 at 3:09 am

    I need to set up a large cistern for rainwater collection. I was thinking 8’x8′, 5′ deep. I can’t afford a large tank, so I plan to dig one and line it. I was thinking of using aircrete on the sides, or something like that, with cinder blocks around the top, and then a good plastic pond liner inside. My ground is sandy and easy to dig. If you don’t disturb it, it keeps a shape well and can have vertical sides for the aircrete. But if you disturb it, it turns into regular dry sand. That’s why the cinder blocks around the top. I haven’t completely figured out about the cover yet, but I think I’ll need to build that first to keep me and the dogs from falling in while I dig it. Has anybody done that? Any good suggestions for a cistern?

    R-N replied 1 year, 3 months ago 5 Members · 23 Replies
  • 23 Replies
  • MartHale7

    Member
    January 16, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    Things to consider is tree roots, they can cause a problem. Aircrete is great stuff for insulation, but I don’t know if it would be strong enough for what you are attempting to do, be sure to look around and see if anyone has done what you want to do making a pond with aircrete. I have built a rocket stove with aircrete, having fibers in it can really help.

    • coyotech

      Member
      January 16, 2023 at 4:06 pm

      True, but no problem with tree roots here. I’ll look into aircrete more. Maybe just use concrete … I’ll be mixing it bag by bag down in the hole, so there’s probably no big advantage to that. Like stucco, only more water proof and less crumbly.

  • yosef61

    Member
    February 25, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Can I suggest cinder block. Most of the water resivoir in the past, like in Italy, have been concrete. You can secure block with rebar and fill and pack holes

    • coyotech

      Member
      February 25, 2023 at 3:44 pm

      At first I decided it was too expensive and would look for something that was still effective, but maybe less expensive. However, I definitely haven’t ruled it out and will study it more. I do want it to last as long as I do!

      • coyotech

        Member
        February 25, 2023 at 6:42 pm

        By pure portland, you mean not ready mix, just the non-ready cement in bags, with no sand or anything added?

  • coyotech

    Member
    January 16, 2023 at 3:58 pm

    Yes, I was thinking of cattle panels and chicken wire to hold up the concrete/aircrete, like stucco. That was a good find on your tanks. No problem with tree roots where I am. It’s mesquite trees here and there, and I rarely disturb a mesquite, since I like them. My land is so easy to work with – I don’t even have caliche or big rocks! I’ll need to grade the ground around the cistern to keep water from running into it and collapsing behind it when it rains, and maybe stuff on the ground to keep the dogs from digging behind the cinder blocks. Not much you can do about the pack rats, ground squirrels and other burrowers, but I haven’t heard complaints about rodents chewing through liners, especially with the concrete behind it.

  • coyotech

    Member
    January 16, 2023 at 8:51 pm

    I hope so. But if anyone sees where I’m figuring wrong, like the one comment that aircrete might not be the best, or you can see that the top won’t hold up when I start building it, I’ll be happy to hear it and appreciate it. I haven’t built or used a cistern before.

  • coyotech

    Member
    January 16, 2023 at 9:29 pm

    Yes, I have looked at those and gotten some ideas. I’ll have to go look again as I’m really digging in to it. More snow on the Chiricahuas and rain that got away!

  • coyotech

    Member
    January 16, 2023 at 9:49 pm

    Yes, it’s beautiful here. The photos don’t do it justice, and they all came out kind of blurry. Lots of good neighbors. It does take a little time to get to know them, and if you’re new they want to make sure you’ll stick around, are honest, and aren’t too weird. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone who’s endowed with a backhoe right now, who’d do it as a favor, and I’m too cheap to pay for it if I can manage without machinery. I’ll get that pit dug out in a reasonable amount of time. It’s good for me. At least that’s what I always tell myself.

  • coyotech

    Member
    January 16, 2023 at 11:27 pm

    👍

  • coyotech

    Member
    February 25, 2023 at 9:38 pm

    Thanks for the explanation and photo! I hope they have smaller than 98 lb bags! I have enough pain with those 80 lb bags. Yeah, even stucco and ready-mix are hard on the hands. They eat through vinyl gloves, too. I’m kind of small, about 5’2″ and 100 lbs. I can make up for a lot of that with carts, levers, pulleys, ladders, etc, but the weight and size of the things I’m working with is always a consideration.

  • coyotech

    Member
    February 25, 2023 at 10:29 pm

    People tell me that’s something I need to work on. 😉 I do have a couple of big friends who would help if I asked. I just hate to bother them. I’ve called on them a few times when I was really desperate. That generally involved dead vehicles by the side of the road. And they help out in other ways too, but if I can get it done myself I try to go ahead and do that. Many things take longer, but you do finally get it done.

  • coyotech

    Member
    February 26, 2023 at 1:44 am

    And you’re right!

  • R-N

    Member
    March 21, 2023 at 7:22 am

    If you dig a hollow hole and then have a heavy rain with wet soil around it then it can collapse the tank. Just something to be aware of.

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