Last year, we had an accident with the orchard’s irrigation system. We were crazy busy, doing a hundred things at once, one of which was watering the forest garden. To do this, all you have to do is turn on a valve. So that’s what we did and then went on to another job.
The part that kind of slipped our mind was turning the valve off. By the time we’d remembered it, the irrigation cistern (whose 6000 gallon capacity had been less than a third full) had been almost drained. Needless to say, we got to cross “water the orchard” well and truly off our list.
Luckily, this occurred not too long before rain season started and no harm was really done, but it could have been disastrous. So this year, Abe installed a “security tank”. It is located right by the valves for the orchard and holds 200 gallons. The line from the cistern connects to it and has a float valve, so it automatically shuts off when it’s full. We fill this tank up about once a week (right now we are in our driest, hottest part of the year), and then turn off the main cistern. The orchard is then watered from this second tank.
It works great and avoids possible disasters in a place where dry season can last 9 months.