Off Grid Home Water Cycle – harvesting and reusing

We have always lived solely on harvested rainwater, but after the fires and having to rebuild we created an even more efficient, off-the-grid home run purely on solar power and rainwater. No water goes to waste in our system, all waste water is filtered and fed back into growing food and plants which in turn transpire and feed back into the water cycle. Here is how our system works.

  1. Rainwater is captured off the roof, stored in rainwater tanks and then pumped with solar power back into the home for domestic use. (In this system the only new items that were bought were the rainwater tanks and the piping, everything else is upcycled or from available resources on the land.)
  2. Greywater from the bathrooms and washing machine is gravity fed out the home to a capture tank made out of an upcycled drum from a local soap making company.
  3. It then runs into a second upcycled drum filled with rocks collected on the property. These rocks are covered in algae which cleans the water. The water percolates up through this drum.
  4. Then the water runs into  gravel reed bed made out of a burnt rainwater tank which was cut. This is filled with leftover gravel from the build and water plants harvested from the dam.
  5. The filtered water then flows into a pipe which runs on contour along the vegetable garden and flows through holes all along the pipe into a river stone trench which then seeps into the garden beds to grow food for the home.
  6. Blackwater (from toilets and dishwasher/sink) is diverted separately to a tank filled with offcuts from plumbing pipes we collected from plumbers. Solids are captured by shade cloth (also upcycled from another build) and the water is filtered through the offcut pipes which have a large surface area to grow algae and clean the water.
  7. Filtered water then runs into a trench on contour filled with river stones and building rubble which feeds and grows the banana plants for the home.
  8. Any overflow from the rainwater tanks goes into a swale on contour which sinks the water into the land and feeds the fruit trees planted below the swale.

Tips for reusing water….

  • use biodegradable cleaning products and body products
  • add EM (effective micro-organisms) to assist the filtering and breakdown process
  • don’t let greywater sit, it must flow and be filtered otherwise it becomes toxic

Do you have any to add?

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