The drought ends

I have been trying to be very un-British recently and not write about the weather, despite the fact that it has been of particular interest to me.

Pair of butts collecting water off the roof of the house at the back

Pair of butts collecting water off the roof of the house at the back

As I have mentioned previously, we try not to use mains water to flush our toilet. This saves us a little money, because our water is metered (not everyone’s is in the UK), but is mainly about saving energy. All water treatment requires the input of energy, so by using untreated water in the toilet cistern, we reduce our carbon footprint. Most of the time we use rainwater, which we collect in several water butts and an IBC from the roofs of the shed, house and greenhouse, but when we are getting low, we also use water from showers. We haven’t got round to collecting it from the washing machine yet, but that will probably happen.

Anyway, rainwater usually supplies all our needs in this respect, after all west Wales is generally quite soggy. But not so far in 2013. Today is 12 April; we had some rain this morning and showers yesterday, but before that the last time it rained was 22 March. That’s 19 days without any precipitation… not much evidence of those April showers we hear about. Similarly, there was a period in February/March when it didn’t rain for 22 consecutive days!*

The IBC, collecting water from the shed roof and now raised up on a couple of pallets

The IBC, collecting water from the shed roof and now raised up on a couple of pallets

The early dry period was most welcome because it allowed us to use up all the water in the IBC (or at least transfer it to other receptacles) so that Mr Snail-of-happiness could lift it up onto two pallets in order to increase the head of water, thus making it much easier to drain. But as the dry spell continued and our water stores declined we started hoping for rain. Then about three days ago we reached the point where the only water we had left was in the 5 litre bottles that we use to store it in the bathroom. We knew that once the last 40 litres was used up, we’d have to turn the mains back on to the toilet.

And then it rained… providing us with another few days worth. Rarely do we need to celebrate rain here, but we did yesterday and today. Tomorrow the forecast is for heavy rain – we are rejoicing. Fingers crossed for torrents of the stuff… and then we’ll be happy for the sunshine to return.


* We write a description of the weather every day in a diary – it helps us interpret the output from the solar panels and is turning into a really interesting record. Soon, we plan to get a little weather station so that we can add numbers to our descriptions.

Water off the greenhouse roof

Water off the greenhouse roof

Water butt at the front of the house

Water butt at the front of the house

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  1. I have several rainwater collection set ups. By yesterday’s torrential rain, they had all fallen apart and we saved not one drop of the downpour 😦 The main pipe from the house roof to the ibc by the veg garden came apart, with the result that all the water that fell on our south facing sloping roof was handily diverted via a nice plastic pipe splat onto the flat roof of the garage. Perfect 🙂 Time for the evil tweak, methinks.



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