How to Buy a Water Tank for a Lifestyle Block

May 1, 2014 Niki Morrell

When we moved onto our block in 2011, we weren’t too worried about water security.

Our supply was stream-fed, so we figured we were less vulnerable than our rainwater-dependent neighbours.

stream irrigation

Then someone pointed out that streams sometimes dry up. Their courses can alter after earthquakes.

And hey, didn’t we have a eucalyptus woodlot right next door to a neighbour’s Douglas fir plantation?

Suddenly our lone 2,000 litre header tank seemed woefully inadequate.

old tank

We let it slide for a couple of years, but decided last month to buy a 30,000 litre back-up tank and get another further down the track.

Decision made, we then started to do some research:

Do we need a resource consent?

The Building Act (2004) says the upper size limit for a tank sitting on the ground is 35,000 litres, so no. And two tanks of that size sitting next to each other are considered individual structures, so we won’t need a consent when we add the second tank, either.

What are the local council’s requirements?

Our council has very clear specifications for new rural builds. Because we bought an existing property, we’re not subject to these but we did make provisions for fire fighting. I’d strongly recommend checking your own council’s guidelines before you buy a tank, whatever your situation.

Who’ll be putting out the fires?

The hose couplings on our local fire engines are smaller than those on newer urban machines. We bought connections to suit the local hoses – inside knowledge pays off!

How will the water be used?

Most likely in the house, so we’ll filter it accordingly.

Will we need frost protection?

We didn’t consider this until after we’d bought our tank. We’ll lag all the piping and see how we go over winter but a frost protection kit might be in order for the second tank.

Lessons learned

Our new tank arrived at nine o’clock on a pitch-black night. The pad preparation wasn’t complete, so the truckie and my husband unloaded it next to our driveway.

Then, because we live in an area of very high wind, we had to secure it. The options were to tie it down (not easy on a tank that size) or partially fill it with water (problematic when it’s moving time).

We chose the “tying down” option. It worked a treat. And there our back-up water tank remains until my time-poor husband can get the pad finished. Then there’s the matter of working out how to manoeuvre the thing up a small hill. I’m thinking lots of other people and bribery.

Free beer and delicious, home-made pizza, anyone?

About the Author

Niki Morrell is a writer who is learning how to farm 25 hectares of marginal land and beech forest in the Nelson Lakes area. With no background or prior experience in farming, she spends much of her time alternating between elation and despair. She says, however, that she wouldn’t have it any other way.

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