Blackburn South house

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Header tank to build pressure and height to feed the main collection tanks
Header tank to build pressure and height to feed the main collection tanks
This header tank is postioned on the other side of the house
This header tank is postioned on the other side of the house

The Blackburn South house features a sustainable garden that produces a quantity of food for the family. The target is to become more self sufficient for food.

Location Blackburn South, Melbourne
Country Australia
Type Sustainable renovation
House size Medium, 30 squares


Summary of house features

  • Passive solar design in the garden
  • Rainwater tanks
  • Low power appliances, no airconditioner
  • Greywater system
  • Chook shed
  • Hydroponic sheds
  • Fruit trees and vegetable garden


Water Collection

This picture shows the water streaming from the hole in the end stop as well as another water spout from the take off
This picture shows the water streaming from the hole in the end stop as well as another water spout from the take off
Currently we have water storage capacity of about 8,000 litres but the aim is to take this to 20,000 litres. All water we collect is either used on the garden, for the hydroponic gardens and for the chooks.

The first tank was installed soon after the laws for domestic water storage were altered, which must be some 10 years or so ago now. Later when undertaking some home alterations we added a second tank under a deck at the back of the house.

Further water storage will most likely reside under the house. Fortunately we have under house access and plumbing has been made ready.

Water collection was initally from one down pipe from the house but this proved very inefficient. Now all downpipes but one funnel to the water storage tanks. We have used header tanks in two cases and the remainder of downpipes feed into under house storm water pipes which connect to the water tanks. The one downpipe which does not feed into the system has a divertor which allows the water to flow directly onto the garden.

For the divertor to flow onto the garden we found the best method was to rig up the outlet to 13mm poly pipe and sit this on top of the garden beds. The end point needs to be lower than the start point. At the end of the poly pipe I use an end stop with a 2mm diameter hole drilled in it to allow the air to escape and some water when it rains. Along the length of the poly pipe at about 1 metre lengths I have plugged in 4mm take off, and that is it. When it rains the water spurts out the take offs and some out the end of the end stop. Since the system relies on gravity the take offs should not be covered and the use of a small filter at the start of the systems helps to keep the water outlets (take offs) clear of debris from the spouts.

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