Water is vital when it comes to running a farm. You want to gather enough water to be safe and accessible, but you also want to store it in a safe manner to ensure you can use it as long as you want.
If you're considering gathering water for your farm and aren't sure about storage: this is everything you need to know.
Consider Your Water Sources
Are you using rainwater, or is this groundwater? Others may consider private dams or pumping water from a creek or river into a header tank. Although all of these are great options, rainwater is generally the most common source since it's readily available and doesn't require you to have to worry about what's going on upstream of your property.
If you are using a river or dam, you should do this research, though. Poorly sourced water can damage your crops and kill any profits you might have otherwise grabbed.
The Purpose of Storing Water
If you're unsure about whether or not you should store water: consider how expensive it is to irrigate crops from water that comes from the city. On average, it can cost $32 per acre of land you water every time you water it. If you're not storing your own water or sourcing it for cheaper, this could cost a lot of money every single time you need to water your crops: which in many areas is multiple times a day.
Storing water can save you money; it's also better for the environment to simply use the water that falls on your property instead of having to use the amounts the city runs and processes. Although you shouldn't drink rainwater, it's great for watering crops, cleaning vehicles, refilling pools and ponds, water for livestock if it's sanitized, and so much more. This also gives you a backup if there are water restrictions in your area due to droughts.
Available Storage Space
How much space do you have for storage? The more room you have to store your water, the better prepared your property will be for it. Consider how much room a 1000-gallon septic tank takes up and if you have anywhere on your property for a tank of that size.
You can store it underground, or if you have a safe space within a garage or storage shed, you could also store it there. A 1000-gallon tank is usually around 100 inches by 52 inches and 72 inches. That's just eight feet long! If you can store multiples, consider it: but make sure there's room so you can rotate through to the oldest one when it's time for you to use the water.
Is Plastic Storage Safe?
Storing water in plastic storage containers is completely safe. Not only does it give you an airtight and transportable material for your water, generally containers that are made for water storage are UV-resistant and food-grade plastic, which means it won't leach chemicals into the water and will keep it continuously safe to use, just like any plastic water trough is safe for your animals.
Although there’s a difference between septic holding tanks and regular water barrels, they're both made to keep their materials contained and safe from outside influence. Companies that generally create both make better long-lasting containers.
Is Storing Water Legal?
Although rainwater is something that falls regardless of what you do: rainwater is only regulated in a handful of states. Colorado and Utah heavily, and in California, you need a license to be able to collect it for crops.
The main reasons for these are either due to drought history in the area or due to health concerns like E Coli being spread through drinking the water.
As long as you're not drinking the water and you're using it according to your state's guidelines, you should be safe. If you live in a county with tons of restrictions, though, you should consider researching local laws and regulations to make sure you don't get fined.
How Do I Maintain My Storage?
If you collect rainwater, it's generally a good idea to use it within a week if it's not stored correctly. Otherwise, if you keep it out of light and away from animal and insect contact, you can use it indefinitely.
If you notice any sign of algae growth, it's vital that you discard it since this can quickly lead to an issue with the quality of your water. Algae water can be damaging to plants, livestock, and anything else you'd usually use water on.
The best way to avoid this is to avoid storing it anywhere in direct sunlight and to keep it well-sealed. High-quality underground water storage tanks can ensure it lasts longer, looks better, and stays uncontaminated for as long as possible.
Water Storage Is An Incredible Option
Water storage is a great way to ensure your farm never has to stop just because the rain does. Consider investing in intelligent water storage solutions soon!