Introduction: Low Altitude Gravity Feed Water Reservoir

About: I am a hard working individual. I am into electronics and mechanics mainly but can get into anything if it has to do with making our lives easier or more enjoyable.

So, little back story just to understand the need for this project:

If you live or work somewhere that has its own ground water well (and/or an accompanying water cistern) as your source of water, sometimes you'll find that the well pump stops working. This could be for a variety of reasons. Regardless, when this happens, if you have an accompanying water cistern and that also runs out of water before you can get the pump fixed, (aka adverse weather conditions like freezing cold) then you're going to find yourself without water for awhile. No water to cook, no water to drink, but more importantly if your situation is like mine, no water to merely wash your hands at work to even eat a dang sandwich. When I work, the filthier my hands get, the more hungry I become. It's a real bummer.

I suppose you could use hand sanitizer/waterless hand cleaner/degreaser, but sometimes water is just better. I've never really liked hand sanitizer anyway... Using it never really "feels" like your hands are really clean. A personal preference I suppose.

This is a project designed as a temporary solution to a water problem that can be operated by one person, as needed.

Step 1: Get a Clean 5 Gallon Bucket

First off, buy a clean unused 5 gallon bucket! Do as I say, not as I do!

I fully realize this one says No. 1 Engine Oil SAE 15W-40... But I rinsed it dozens of times using multiple labeled products to get it clean for a different project. Also, this one is designed for a single use under the supervision of a select few who understand its not for drinking. Trust me, its not worth the work or the danger. Just buy a clean one or even a different container designed for water would be even better. It is really just the idea I'm presenting here, not the word for word materials needed to make one. Use your imagination!:)

With my disclaimer lecture out of the way, grab your (clean) container and figure out where to make an opening for your bulkhead fitting. My bulkhead fitting was one with 1/2" female NPT threads and required a hole around 1-3/8".

From the pictures, it is also very important to drop everything you were doing at work and finish this project on top of the benchtop clutter instead. Remember, you're hungry, have dirty hands, and a delicious sandwich awaiting.

Once you've determined a good spot, grab your drill and hole saw and knock it out! I happened to have a step drill with the last step ending at 1-3/8" so I used that instead.

Now that the hole is there, clean the edges up and install the fitting. It is pretty straight forward assembly. The only curve ball is left hand threads on the big nut that you install it with.

Step 2: Install a Hose Nipple

With the bulkhead installed, put some Teflon tape on a 1/2" Male NPT X 1/2" Male hose barb fitting and install it into the bulkhead fitting.

Inspect it from the topside to make sure there are no surprises.

Looks as it should. If possible, give it a quick final rinse just to make sure, it is free of abnormal contaminants.

Step 3: Make a Bracket

Make a quick bracket! Do it now! The quicker the better! Your stomach just threatened to eat itself.

This could be in the shape or form of anything and it really depends on the container you choose to use. I happened to have a 6" I-beam to work I whipped up a quick squeeze mount bracket out of scraps that literally took a matter of 10 minutes. The piece of angle iron happened to be the right length, all I had to do was drill two 3/8" holes to accommodate two 3/8 bolts. The flats that clamp on the back already had the holes there, all I had to do was cut them to length. Finally, the two pieces that hold the bucket handle are worn out "beater fingers" from a combine, bent at 90 degrees at the same level. If you notice they aren't even the same length but this adds character.

Weld it all up and you have an instant bracket.

Again, use your imagination. A bracket in this case, could be a tree branch or the back of an rv. Whatever it is, make sure its sturdy. 5 gallons of water is approximately 40 lbs + whatever your reservoir weighs.

Step 4: Add the Hose and Valve

Add about roughly 5' of 1/2" hose to the hose nipple at the bottom of the bucket. At the other end add a 1/4 turn valve of some sort for ease of use. Both the hose and valve were brand new leftover supplies from another project. The hose was the right length and the valve was a plastic body with 1/2" male hose barbs on both ends.

If you wanted to, you should probably add some hose clamps to each of these. I didn't...but then again I was in a hurry and couldn't be bothered with the details. Not to say haste is a good habit to get into, but it felt tight enough that it would never leak. I could be proven wrong by a wet shop floor at any point in the near future.

Secure the valve to something solid for ease of use. I used zip-ties to the existing faucet over the sink. Seemed like a fitting place to mount it.

Realize how filthy your shop sink is when you take a picture of it. Then decide to leave it that way because it was used to begin with and that means work is getting done. The filthier the better! If it was clean, that would mean you're hands are still filthy...

Step 5: Fill and Test

Put a gallon in and check for leaks. Its easier to fix now than when it has 5 gallons in it. I had about 20 gallons of water in old drinking water gallon jugs(I don't have any pictures but you know the ones I'm talking about) that I had re-filled and brought from home to make this work.

I'm not sure of the pressure but it is 5 gallons about 5 feet above a normal height sink. It comes out of that 1/2" hose really fast. I only need to crack it to wash my hands.

In comparison to trying to wash you hands with a gallon jug by yourself, it is awesome. IF one used the proper "labeled for use" known CLEAN materials, you could use this for a number of other things like rinsing dishes, etc. Actually it works really well. Good enough that I could envision taking it with me as an outside faucet for camping or rv-ing. 5 gallons lasts a long time too if you're conservative. It is just nice to have that bigger reservoir, absent of no real conventional water "system," to get through washing assignments.

I spent a few minutes searching and couldn't find something like this. I've also entered into a few contests, so if you see fit, go ahead and consider it a worthy opponent and vote.

This is not a project I'm proud of. It was a project that came as the product of necessity and I did hesitate for quite some time considering whether or not to post it. For lack of better judgement, I decided it worked well enough that someone else might find the idea useful and adapt their own version.

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