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Above or Below Ground Water Storage Tanks

Jul 13

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Friday, July 13, 2012  RssIcon

Water is essential for farmers and without it they can't yield the quality of crops consumers expect to see available in the supermarkets.

The UK Environmental Agency's job is to ensure there is enough water for people and the environment. They work with farmers to make the best use of water. Rainwater harvesting has been sited as a cost effective and efficient way of reducing dependence on mains water. Water collected off roofs can be used for many aspects of farming.

There are many features of rainwater harvesting that need to be considered before investing in tanks and pumping of water:

1. Water Storage

  • The number and size of storage tanks you invest in should be sufficient to meet your needs and store the amount of water to be harvested. 

  • It is also recommended that the tank should be sized, so that it overflows at least twice a year to remove floating debris.

2. Decide on the type of water storage, which will best meet your needs and establishment: 

  • Above ground tanks specifically designed and lined with a rubber tank liner to contain the water and prevent rust damage. They require the availability of space to install them.

    • Advantages: Easy to inspect, repair and maintain

    • Disadvantages: requires a cover to prevent debris, leaves or creatures entering the tank and fouling the water, which if left in the tank may sink to the bottom and lead to blockage of the outlet pipe. If not properly maintained, they are more susceptible to algal growth. 

  • Reservoirs lined either with clay of a flexible rubber liner require planning permission, but the outcome has many positive environmental outcomes.

  • Underground storage tanks involve excavation and installation costs but the outcome is positive in that the tanks are concealed from view so where aesthetics are important such as at golf courses, this is an ideal means of harvesting water.

    • Advantages: prevents algal growth because tank is shielded from sunlight. No risk of damage due to extreme weather conditions. Tank temperature kept cool therefore less risk of bacterial growth, which can happen with above ground tanks when water gets too warm and is untreated.

    • Disadvantages: excavation and installation costs plus not as easy to access for maintenance.

Water storage tanks need to have an over flow system to avoid stagnation of water thus preventing contamination. It also helps remove floating debris. 


Stored water can then be pumped to where the water is needed. The choice of pump will depend on the application.

The agricultural industry can benefit from rainwater harvesting through the construction of water storage systems. The size of such systems should depend on the volume of water able to collect. This water can be used for many purposes around the farm – cleaning the yard, cleaning vehicles, washing down equipment and for direct irrigation of crops.

Russetts are renowned for their tank liners and have supplied these to a number of industries in many countries. We also supply corrugated water storage tanks. For more information and pricing on tank liners, tanks and installation, contact us.

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