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water bowser

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water bowser

Postby steve rollnick » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:36 am

Hi friends
our woodland in Wales is taking a turn: a shepherd's hut is being wheeled in, and we are tired of a water butt that get's full of "muck". Someone suggested that if we sink a bowser into the dark of the ground, hopefully above the height of the hut, and insert a good filter, our water will be much better in quality.

Anyone had an experience of this? Or have we missed a trick with keeping water butt's as clean as possible?

Many thanks

steve rollnick
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Re: water bowser

Postby Dexter's Shed » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:31 am

it sounds an interesting post, as I'm hoping to get a bowser in too, but afraid you have lost me with sinking it in the ground, but higher than the hut????
Dexter's Shed
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Re: water bowser

Postby oldclaypaws » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:53 am

Presumably the site is on an incline, so if the bowser is placed underground higher up the hill, there will be pressure to carry water down to the hut.

My farmer chum runs rainwater off his cowshed roofs into a 5,000 litre tank, just off the ground, so he can then just drain it off. He reckons it saves £1000 a year- cows drink a lot. If you have a roof, you have a water source.
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Re: water bowser

Postby Wendelspanswick » Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:15 pm

Its weird I know but apparently if you put fish into the bowser they will remove algae and insects then you only have to filter out the fish s**t! Or so I have been reliably informed, haven't tried it though.
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Re: water bowser

Postby Bearwood » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:48 pm

I'm currently toiling with this same issue on my living van with a view to harvesting rainwater.

I found this forum, and specifically this link very useful; ... 6&t=109325

If you're using the water butt (either buried in the ground or otherwise) with no filtration to remove organic particles and other detritus, you will invariably get a nice layer of matter in the bottom of your water butt.

A system such as the one in the diagram provided by 'retrotecchie' included in the link above is a great start, and one which I am in the process of assembling utilising two slimline water butts.

Once it is complete and is providing filtered water, I'm still not going to chance it though; still going to boil it first!
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Re: water bowser

Postby smojo » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:04 am

I considered collecting rainwater from a roof of a shelter I intend to build. I read somewhere you should place a muslin cloth across it the butt to collect the bugs and leaves and filter it before it goes into the butt. Then I read on a bushcraft topic that rainwater collected in the woods tastes like sh*t because of all the residue, pollution, bird and insect poo that gets dislodged from the leaves above. So I guess the first requirement is to site your collecting roof in an open area and defo not under trees. Even if it tastes a bit nasty, boiling for a few minutes kills all viruses and bacteria to make it safe but it won't remove any chemical elements - like bird poo.
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Re: water bowser

Postby outeredge » Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:47 pm

You could always get something like this (, I've found them very helpful - would filter out all those chemical elements referred to above and water tastes great regardless.
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Re: water bowser

Postby Rankinswood » Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:23 am

We collect rainwater off the roof at home to use for toilet flushing and the primary filter that we use is a ladies pop sock which is attached over the end of the downpipe and held in place with a 45 degree downspout outlet. This catches all of the leaf and moss detritus that comes down off the roof and can be cleaned by a simple reverse flush. Some of the pop socks have been used for well over a year and so are prooved to be pretty robust in service. The rainwater is collected in a 50 gallon butt which is then ported over to a second butt to settle and be treated with bleach to kill off any bacteria or algae. This approach has reduced our domestic water consumption from the mains water supply to one third of previous consumption.

An interesting approach used to collect moisture from the atmosphere in dessert areas is to stretch greenhouse net shading material vertically between posts and wires and then to fix rainwater gutters immediately beneath the lower edge where upon the water droplets caught by the netting then drips down through the net into the gutter where it can then be run to a collection vessel. This approach would reduce the amount of leaves and other bird detritus that falls upon a roof type surface.

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Re: water bowser

Postby SimonFisher » Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:22 am

Rankinswood wrote:The rainwater is collected in a 50 gallon butt which is then ported over to a second butt to settle and be treated with bleach to kill off any bacteria or algae.

You just use regular household bleach (Domestos and the like)? How much do you add?
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Re: water bowser

Postby oldclaypaws » Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:12 am

The US environmental protection agency does indeed recommend using regular chlorinated bleach as an emergency water purifier in the event of flooding, etc, where the regular supply is contaminated. They suggest a ratio of

1 : 3800 (call it 4000)

=1cc per 4 litres

= 50cc's (or 1/5th of a cup) in a 200 litre water butt.

= 1 cup per large 1000 litre tank

To disperse it in a large tank or butt I guess it would be best to mix it in a bucket of water first, then tip that in and stir.

When the tap water stops flowing, Regular Clorox Bleach isn't just a laundry-aid, it's a lifesaver. Use it to purify water, and you'll have something to drink. It's the same in any natural disaster. As the shock wears off and the days wear on, the biggest demand is for drinking water. Time after time, relief crews hand out free Clorox Bleach with simple instructions: use it to kill bacteria in your water and you'll have purified water to drink. Here are the general guidelines. First let water stand until particles settle. Filter the particles if necessary with layers of cloth, coffee filters, or fine paper towels. Pour the clear water into an uncontaminated container and add Regular Clorox Bleach per the below indicated ratio. Mix well. Wait 30 min. Water should have a slight bleach odor. If not, repeat dose. Whether you use Clorox Bleach in an emergency or for everyday chores, it's always an environmentally sound choice. After its work is done, Clorox Bleach breaks down to little more than salt and water, which is acceptable anytime.
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