Peter Harden, an 82-year-old retired head teacher, has lived in his bungalow in Ingoldsby, Lincolnshire, for 52 years and now has nine massive water containers in his garden.
Even though the English government recently announced a ban on watering with garden hoses in the western region of the country, Peter Harden has continued to hose without concern.
With 6,000 liters (1,500 gallons) of water available to him, Harden’s paddock is the greenest on the block. Harden has been collecting rainwater in large catch basins for nearly 50 years.
Peter Harden, an 82-year-old retired teacher, has lived in his bungalow for 52 years. He installed his first rainwater catch tanks in 1976, following a renowned English drought.
Droughts in the UK were becoming more severe, prompting the keen gardener to take precautions during a trip to Europe with his wife.
“Our holidays abroad in Europe over 50 years frequently included cultural visits to ancient Greek and Roman towns,” said Harden. “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.”
But why the devotion? Peter lives in one of the driest parts of the country. The clay beneath his property in Ingoldsby, Lincolnshire, does hold water, but when the UK experiences a drought, the clay cracks.
The region is currently experiencing its worst drought in 26 years, and a hose pipe ban has been implemented in parts of the West Country to protect municipal water reserves.
“We live in an area with one of the lowest mean rainfalls in the country. We get a circa of 22 inches per year,” said Harden, who about eight years ago supplemented his 9 catch tanks with two more, 1,000 liters (250 gallons) intermediate bulk containers, before adding another pair just recently.
The bulk water containers sit at the bottom of the garden and are filled directly by a garden hose from some of the 375-liter catch tanks.
“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,” he explained.
“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.”
Not slowing down, he says he aims to store 9,000 liters soon.