2 gravity feed tanks with 9 valves

All my irrigation is from harvested rainwater collected from impermeable surfaces, stored in large tanks at the bottom of the hill and then pumped to 2 tanks at the top of the hill for gravity feeding to the orchard and crops.  Today I added my 9th valve to the pipe system for the 2 gravity feed tanks.  Are 9 valves used and are they necessary?  I have concluded – yes.

Here is a ‘photo of the 2 tanks:

2 gravity feed tanks with numerous valves and pipes
2 gravity feed tanks with numerous valves and pipes

And here is a schematic of the pipe system:

tank valves

You can see the 9 numbered valves.  Here are some combinations:
Pumping to tank A – 3C, 4O, 9C (i.e. valve 2 closed, valve 4 open and valve 9 closed)
Pumping to tank B – 3C, 4O, 9O
Harvesting deck roof water – 7O, 6C, 8C (when A is full, water moves via 2 routes)
Water to tree nursery – 7O, 6O, 5O, 3C, 1C, 2C
Gravity feed to downhill from B – 😯
Gravity feed to downhill from A – 7O, 6O, 5C, 3C, 1C, 2O
Gravity feed to tophill – 7O, 6O, 5C, 3C, 2C, 1O
Pump feed to tophill – 4C, 3O, 5C, 6C, 2C, 1O

One of my best innovations is the last combination.  I previously gravity fed my blueberries at tophill with an in situ bubbler system but, because pressure was slight, the distribution was uneven and unreliable.  Now, with the last combination I can switch on the storage tank pump timer at the bottomhill and directly pump and distribute water via a hand held hose to the tophill plantings, which means thorough quick daily watering with daily inspection.

So now, in addition to my daily soduku exercises, I also challenge my mind with correctly setting the various valve combinations for the changing tasks.








4 thoughts on “2 gravity feed tanks with 9 valves”

  1. Hi Richard,

    Any thoughts about protecting them from UV effects? I think that we’re going to build frames of pressure treated fence boards for each side and u-bolt them to the cube exoskeleton. For the top, we’ll do the same but not bolt it down.


    1. Mike, good question and I initially thought of doing this. Now I have had these totes exposed for close on 7 years to fierce summer sun and winter freeze and they seem unaffected. Maybe, since they were designed to hold chemicals, the composition of the plastic skin makes them impervious to uv. I had similar concerns when I bought plastic roof panels for my small greenhouse but since they were made in Israel where you have desert heat I figured they would be ok. And they have been fine since I installed them about 5 years ago. The only problem I have had with the totes was the failure of a valve which I replaced successfully and blogged about a few posts ago.

  2. Can you please explain how valves 7 and 6 are different? As the bottom of tank A is below the top of tank B, unclear what the pipe connecting just below 7 is accomplishing.

    1. Good question. Tank A receives water from the deck roof. After tank A is full excess water overflows to tank B. I decided I wanted a means to fill tank B before tank A was completely full. Therefore valve B – if B is closed and A is open then tank A fills tank B before tank A is completely full. Also, in a heavy downpour I now have 2 pipes to convey water from tank A to tank B.

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