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This page relates to my water supply at Wantadilla in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia, where I lived from 1997 to 2007. I currently don't have a corresponding page for my present house in Dereel.

Some people characterize South Australia as being the driest state in the driest continent on Earth. We have no mains water supply.

Nevertheless, we don't have much of a problem with water. The rainfall here is many times the state average, and on our 20 ha (50 acres) of land we get an annual rainfall of about 150,000 cubic metres (about 33 million gallons). We can't collect all of that, of course, but we have a rainwater tank which holds about 75 cubic meters. Water from a large proportion of the roof drains into the tank, keeping it full in the winter. In a typical summer it drops to about half full. In the following photo you can see two green pipes leading down from the gutter behind the tank, and a 4" white up pipe from the other part of the house.


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All images taken on Monday, 16 December 2002, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 16 December 2002, small
Diary entry for Monday, 16 December 2002 Complete exposure details

 

We get the water into the house with a pressure pump:


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Diary entry for Monday, 16 December 2002 Complete exposure details

 

It's made by Davey, with whom we are not satisfied. It's quite a concern to have your only supply of potable water fail on you, usually on a holiday.

The tank needs cleaning from time to time, about every five years. So far the only time was on 6 August 2003, and they found an incredible mess in there.


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All images taken on Wednesday, 6 August 2003, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 6 August 2003, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 6 August 2003 Complete exposure details

 

In addition to the rainwater tank, we have a “dam”, really a hole in the ground to collect water in.


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All images taken on Sunday, 15 December 2002, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 15 December 2002, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 15 December 2002

 

It's quite some distance away, at the bottom of the tall tree in the distance in the middle of this photo:


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Diary entry for Sunday, 15 December 2002 Complete exposure details

 

In fact, it's beyond the black stump:


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Diary entry for Sunday, 15 December 2002

 

It's a rather stupid place for a dam: it's in the corner of the property, where it hardly collects any rain water. Closer to the house we have a creek which runs through the property and carries a lot of water in the winter, but it would cost a significant amount of money to build a new dam there, and so far we haven't seen a reason to do so.

By the dam we have a “bore”, a pump sunk into the water table 60 metres below. In this photo you can also see the house in the distance.


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Diary entry for Sunday, 15 December 2002

 

The pump delivers a large volume (rated as 9000 gallons per hour, or somewhat over 10 litres per second) of relatively saline water (about 2200 ppm) into the dam, where it evaporates while waiting to be used, thus further increasing the salinity. We're thinking of putting in a header tank and an automatic switch to improve things there.

There's a pump house as well, if you could call this shed a house.


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Diary entry for Sunday, 15 December 2002

 

The controls look really primitive,


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but in fact they're not really the controls at all. One day we had problems with the pump and opened the box on the left and found something that looked relatively modern. I even found a circuit diagram for the thing, which I'm putting on line so I don't lose it.


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Diary entry for Sunday, 15 December 2002

 

Closer to the house we have a pump which runs the sprinklers:


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All images taken on Sunday, 12 January 2003, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 12 January 2003, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 12 January 2003 Complete exposure details

 

We had trouble with dirt in the system, so we installed a filter. The results were astonishing: just about every day we collect this much junk on the element:


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Diary entry for Friday, 29 November 2002 Complete exposure details

 

Most of this appears to be alive. There seem to be at least two different kinds of animal: this one looks like a water flea:

 
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The little black spots on the image above are tiny snails, about 1 mm long. Here's a close-up of a couple of them:

 
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Finally, we have a second water tank partially hidden behind some trees in the garden. It's full of dam (or bore) water, and it's intended to run the fire pump in case of bushfire.


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Diary entry for Monday, 16 December 2002 Complete exposure details

 


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