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Harvesting Rain & Grey water

Updated on October 31, 2017
Nadine May profile image

Nadine is from Cape Town and is both a visionary fiction author, an art therapist and a graphic designer. Loves gardening, reading & writing


Our Rain and Grey Water harvesting project

Greywater means water from showers, wash basins and baths. This water can be used during dry summer months in areas where there is little rainfall if any. With the help of photos, I am showing examples of what we did in the Western Cape in South Africa for anyone who is interested in preparing for times when we cannot depend anymore on regular rainfall.

Our landscape garden projects started during 2006 - 2007.


2007 - 2017

The bottom photo that I called After was taken today October 2017.
Thank goodness we had the foresight to do this ten years ago. Also, the connecting pipe that is running up the mountain underneath hidden by the ivy was already done years ago.

The pumps we had installed during 2007 did not last, so today we need to save up for new and better outside pumps instead of submersible pumps.


Grey water project

The pipes directing the rainwater from the three little ponds had to be buried under our picnic spot to yet another pond on the way to an underground water tank.

The plans are to get a pump to pump the rainwater in the underground tank up fifteen meters to be stored in a 2000 Liter tank on the top of our garden plot.

During the last few months, we have invested in three more water collection points. Two large rubbish bins we altered into water tanks that would fit into the small spaces on our property where the downpipes of from the cutters can be stored in order to water all the plants in pots I'm trying to keep alive.

Before and After

The 'before and after photos' in this article gives an idea of how and why we created three small ponds. These were to build into our landscaping project so the overflowing rainwater from the rainwater tank, that has been installed underneath the wooden deck of the free-standing cottage, can still be saved.
From there the water flows through recycled plastic pipes into three separate ponds and if they are overflowing the rainwater is accumulated down into the underground tanks.


Small ponds


The before and after landscaping project

In this article and on the article: When dream visions become real, I shared more on how our own landscaping idea that would one day help us to get off the grid so to speak was an intuitive directed impulse that would become a necessity ten years later.
To be off the grid, meaning that we would have our own water for the garden by collecting rainwater during the winter months to sustain our plants in the dry season from January to April is still a dream.

The following Video is all about the alarming water situation in Cape Town.

This video was taken in May. It's now October and still no rain worth mentioning.

Today we have invested in three more small water tanks to catch as much as we can if it rains. The City of Cape Town has warned us that they will soon have to disrupt water supply during peak water usage times in the mornings between 05:00 and 09:00 and in the evenings between 17:00 and 21:00.

The City of Cape Town confirmed that it is not closing down the popular natural that groundwater and springs water collection points, following allegations that the water source may be shut down amid the growing water shortage.
Many locals saw the spring as "a blessing" as drought conditions continue in the Western Cape.

The noises of thunder in the distance while editing this article gives me hope that some rain is coming, but often it somehow rarely reaches our Trappies kop mounten. Let's hope when I have reposted this article we are having a welcome downpour.

The following photos are from the preparations of your rain and greywater systems we started in 2005.

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I'm grateful for our visions to prepare for what it would be like to have no water flowing out our taps. Last year we started to use alternative means to using washing powder in order to collect the water from our washing machine. We have not used out bath for over a year now and allow for very short showers. We collect every drop we can, and I'm using upside down plastic bottles with small prick holes, filled with water stuck upside down into the soil to create a dip watering effect for some of my pot plants.
The thunder clouds of an hour ago are now gone, no rain, instead the sun is streaming into my office.
Thanks for reading my post and looking at the photos of
our landscape garden projects started during 2006 - 2007.

Our before and after picnic spot


Using broken second hand bricks for paving


Several Picnic spots in the garden

I’ve always liked gardens that have corners where you can sit and entertain friends. On one of our trips to town we drove past a thatched roof garden furniture company and knew immediately what was missing; a spot in the garden where we could have enough room for six people to sit, away from the hot sun. We negotiated with the man who made them to come to our place to see if he could build a similar seating arrangement to the drawing I had already made. I learned by now that whatever I visualized in my mind I had to be put onto paper for others to see.

Old Pluming Pipes

The next photo shows a preparation for a flat section for a grass lawn.

Creating several levels in our sloping garden gave us lots of space. We even used the old ceramic drain pipes, dating from the forties, and made plant holders from them.


A Paved walkway up to the cottage

The pathway past the new picnic area would lead to the entrance to Titanya's cottage, so we incorporated some wood next to the paving to make it wider.

When the ivy was pulled away we discovered a large boulder next to the steps up to the cottage. I saw that layout to be a creative spot for my succulent bonsai collection.

From a single room to a double storey cottage


Building the picnic gazebo


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