The Very Green Gardener

Rainwater Catchment tank project

In the Summer of 2019, we partnered with OXFAM to sell and install rainwater catchment tanks across Wellington, and donate the profits to their water programs. This meant that for every tank sold in Wellington, OXFAM were able to install two similar tanks in Syrian refugee camps, or provide a clean water program for a school in a third world country. We hit the target of 50 tanks sold, and were able to donate $5,000 to OXFAM in a matter of months! This project is now on the backburner- new gardening clients are offered a rainwater tank, and members of the public are still invited to have one installed by our business. We donate $100 to OXFAM for every water tank sold.

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Tank prices-

$350 to install a 200L tank (these are the same as the tanks sold by Wellington City Council)

$740 to install a 800L tank

Install a tank you already own- $140

Deliver a tank without setting it up- $250/200L or $640/800L

This includes delivery; securing the tank to the ground, a wall or fence; and attaching the tank to a downpipe so that it will be filled by rainfall from the roof (if desired). These tanks can be installed so they can be moved easily (if renting or renovating), they can also be installed so that they are not able to be easily removed (if there are security concerns).
A big shoutout to The Tank Guy, who provides us with these tanks significantly cheaper than they retail for. Their generosity enables us to make a sizeable donation with each tank sold.

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Why is having an emergency water supply important?

Our water supply network crosses fault-lines in multiple places. In a strong earthquake, our water system will break down. Wellington Water have indicated it will take more than 100 days to restore services in some suburbs in the Wellington region.

The current emergency water plan for Wellington

It will take 7-10 days after an earthquake for emergency services to set up water refill stations. There will be refill stations set up in 7 locations across the Wellington Region for residents to come and collect 20l per person of water at a time, on foot or by bicycle (fuel supplies are immediately locked down for civil defense vehicles, and the roads are likely to be impacted). Your ability to carry 20L of water per day depends partly on your personal situation, and partly on where the collection stations will be- 7 stations across all of Wellington means they will probably be quite a walk. For 7-10 days, your only water will be what you have stored at your home.

Why is this relevant for our household?

We use 220L of water each per day, on average.

In an emergency, 20L per person per day enables us to drink enough fluids, cook and have the basics of sanitation.

Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO) recommend storing 140L per person in your household (20L per person per day for a 7 day supply) as a minimum. GNS Science recommend households store 600-800L per person! I think it's important to make an informed judgement for yourself on how much your household should store. I've received these figures across a range of sources- the same that Wellington City Council use. Here's one.

When I'm planting, gardening, or mowing, I have occasionally moved empty 200L water storage tanks that were never set up, and I think of how lucky we have been thus far, in our windy, earthquake-prone city. (No judgement- I didn't have a tank until this order arrived!) Our city simply does not have the capacity to store enough water to support our population if our water supply is cut off. We need to support our household for the first seven days of an earthquake or other catastrophic event.

Why am I fundraising for Oxfam's water programmes?

More than a quarter of the world's population do not have access to clean water. Oxfam is currently supporting Lebanon, Jordan, Tonga, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea where there has either never been secure access to drinking water, or a natural disaster has damaged their infrastructure. They have not had the ability to plan ahead the way we can, and their reality is what we try to prevent happening post-quake! There hasn't been enough clean water to, for example, wash hands after using the toilet, let alone flushing a toilet. Girls and women are unable to go to school or work when on their periods, as they can't wash themselves properly and can't clean reusable sanitary items. Many people are resigned to drinking water which will make them sick, as they don't have access to clean water.

Why $100?

Initially this project was to pair a water tank in Wellington with a water tank for a needy family in another country. However, after approaching OXFAM, they advised that the price of a water tank in Wellington would enable them to provide clean water to an entire school overseas. A glorious thought! One 200L water tank for one house could fund water for a whole school in Papua New Guinea.

This project reached the local paper- thanks Jamie!

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