We have had our water tank installed! It's enormous. You get a sense of its vastness and the damage it did to a nearby tree in this photo (I'm on the right, Paula's brother Mark on the left). The installation process has been fraught with anxiety for me - and I've been constantly asking if we are doing the right thing to put it in. It cost SO MUCH - there goes our consumer goods target for the year. And there turned out to be a glitch in that the info on the internet about the tank wasn't quite right, and as a result we had to set it down further into the ground than intended. And to do this - we had to dig out several tonnes of dirt and cart it off to landfill. Well after carefully monitoring our rubbish usage for months and being proud that we really fill the equivalent of one small shopping bag per week for three people, all of a sudden our rubbish contribution to the world has skyrocketed.
Not only that but in order to get the tank in, we had to clear a very junked up section of our backyard, including ripping out some trees. I intend to replace them with fruit trees, which I feel will be a better deal. BUT - in a perfect world we would have carefully cut up the trees and stored them and used them for firewood, and we didn't - they went to the tip in a skip! The reason this happened is that our back yard was so totally full that we couldn't find space to process, chop and store it all. Also Paula and I have only a limited amount of time for the project and had to focus our energy on preparing for our trip to Adelaide and some deadlines with the new show we're making etc. I was afraid it would become another long term dump arrangement, which was how that part of the backyard got so junked up in the first place. I feel very guilty. Is a water tank worth this? Logic tells me that YES, it is. If we are going to survive in Melbourne and the drought continues, it's the only way we can ensure water security. It also means that we are no longer draining Melbourne water supplies and so there is more water for other people, who don't have the money and land to put in a tank. It's a community service as well as a personal one, right? All this soul-searching and trying to do the right thing has made me anxious.
Anyway, we got home from Adelaide, found something like a month's worth of water in the tank, and took a really big step: turned off mains water and switched our house and garden entirely over to tank water. Suddenly my soul-searching and anxiety seems far away. We've done it.. it's taken two years to get to this point, since I first decided I wanted to get a big water tank and began the slow process of research and garden rearrangement to get it in. And now at last, we are independent with water. I hope we won't have to change back to mains water. Fingers crossed.
My next project is to beautify my vegie garden and camouflage that tank. I'll snap a pic when it's done and post it here.