Man Has Been Storing Rainwater Since UK’s Worst Drought Problem Back In 1976


England is no stranger to drought, especially during the warmer seasons in the country. As a result, the government usually bans extra watering in some areas when dealing with a lack of rain. In fact, in the western portion of the country, the government banned garden hose watering. But that didn’t stop one elderly man from watering his garden.

That’s because Peter Harden has been storing tons of rainwater in huge catch tanks for about half a decade. Incredibly, he’s already stored 6,000 liters, which is approximately 1,500 gallons, of water, allowing him to keep his garden quite lush.

At 82-years of age, Harden is a retired teacher that has lived in his beloved bungalow home for a whopping 52 years. Notably, he first installed his rainwater catch tanks in 1976, after England had experienced the benchmark drought known infamously as The Standpipe Drought between 1975 and 1976.

Harden, who happens to be a fervent gardener, shared how he noticed that the droughts in the United Kingdom were getting worse and more intense over the years, which inspired him to take some extra precautions by getting tips from his and his wife’s European vacations.

Harden explains, “Our holidays abroad in Europe over 50 years frequently included cultural visits to ancient Greek and Roman towns. We were always impressed by the huge number of domestic underground cisterns that the Romans et al. pre-built to catch rainwater for very dry summers.”

“With this experience in mind, I gradually increased the number and size of my rainwater catch tanks until about 15 years ago when I had nine 375 liter capacity tanks fed directly by rainwater from the bungalow’s guttering,” he adds.

A major reason why Mr. Harden is so dedicated to his project is because the area where he lives happens to be one of the driest areas located in the U.K. While the clay beneath his property located in Ingoldsby, Lincolnshire happens to hold water, when there is drought in the country, the clay actually begins to crack.

And since the region is once again experiencing horrible drought, the worst in 26 years, the need to protect their municipal water reserves has been top priority. This is why the hope pipe ban was implemented in particular parts of the West Country.

Harden goes on to say, “We live in an area with one of the lowest mean rainfalls in the country. We get a circa of 22 inches per year.” It was around eight years ago when he supplemented his 9 catch tanks with two more 1,000-liter (250 gallon) intermediate bulk containers. Just recently, he added another two more.

His bulk water containers are found at the bottom of the garden and are filled directly by garden hose from a few of the 375-liter catch tanks.

Harden explains, “Using an electrically-powered submersible water pump, I pump water through a garden hose from one of the tanks through a spray attached to the garden hose.”

“As the level of water falls in the one tank it levels out in the other tanks through gravity feed through the interconnected pipes. Three of my original 375-liter tanks have since become unserviceable and I am waiting to replace them. I also am trying to buy two more 1,000 liter bulk containers to increase my water storage volume,” he adds.

Harden has no plans to slow down either. He hopes that he can store at least 9,000 liters in the near future. And at the rate he’s going, we wouldn’t be surprised if he reaches his goal sooner rather than later.


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