I hoping someone can help me. We've got a little courtyard with raised
beds. It's so small I thought it'd be great if we could divert all the
lovely rain water from the roof on it's way down to earth. I'm intending
to install a water butt to the down pipe. My question is: would it be
possible to supply a timed irrigation system from the butt which
switched to the mains if the water ran out?
Just had a brainwave... Would it be possible to top up the water butt
from the mains?
Yes at some cost. How much water and money will you save doing this? How
much will it all cost?
Of course. But much cheaper to just connect the mains to the irrigation
system and forget about the butt and the pump.
I am not saying that saving water is a bad thing but at the scale of a water
butt (200 l ?) you are paying lots of capital costs and getting little
return. You would be doing this for ideological reasons probably not for
Do your sums first.
Get as large a butt as you can to make it worthwhile. Also, check the
specifications of the irrigation timers to ensure that they will operate
properly from a low water pressure. If you can mount the butt up fairly
high, that might help.
All you need is a ballcock-type valve (as used in a toilet cistern)
placed as near as possible to the bottom of the water butt (but where it
can still open a little). The valve will then only open when the butt
is nearly empty, but will not allow mains-water in when there is even a
small amount of rain water in the butt.
To be perfectly honest for a "little" courtyard that's "so small" it
wouldn't be worth the time, effort, and expense to automate watering
for a couple of raised beds... I strongly suggest using a garden hose
betwixt the times it rains directly into your beds... diverting water
from your roof tops would probably be enough to drown your beds and
your entire system... unless one resides in an arid clime I don't see
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