One of my aims is to make my house / lifestyle as low impact environmentally as possible, living in the South East this has to include water, in particular as there is a growing likelihood of draughts and hosepipe bans, I thought that with a bit of ingenuity I should be both insualted from the effects of any ban and possibly save money.

Unlike my investments in Solar Energy both heating and Electric, this water recycling was going to be built on a shoestring. I am also fortunate in having a bit of space to work with and water collection areas called a garge roof and a house roof!

Garage was 1st and I invested in a couple of old heating oil tanks for about £10 each ie £10 to store 3,500 litres, they smelt a bit but had no oil left. These were put on old concrete breeze blocks next to the garage with the guttering going directly into them and a long hose which lets me empty pretty well anywhere in the garden. £20 cost, lots of elbow grease and the saving of about £10 of water per year, mostly topping up my pond.

2nd phase was using the water from my house roof, 4 IBCs (Intermediate Bulk Carriers) at about £25 each. This was after the draught of 2005 so prices had dropped! IBC are effectively scrap having been used to carry liquids then realistically unusable for anything else.

Two sets, stacked two high, the top two joined and plumbed into the bath drain. Then a long pipe connecting the base of the upper tanks to my toilet flush and that's it! The only downside is that with a head of water of about 8 feet the flush fills slowly and being old water its a bit pongy at times. However its free and there is no need to restrict the flushing in teh downstairs loo at all! The other benefit is that as we live in a very hard water area, I have a water softener on the hot water system, this is the water that ends up in the downstairs toilet so no buildup of limescale!

My water bill having dipped significantly has now just crept up, through price rises, to what I paid about 10 years ago!

In terms of cost benefit, this has been the best investment in money time and effort. An overall cost of about £125, covering the IBCs and fittings. Realistically a saving of about £50 a year on water and theoretically the same again on sewage though I have a cesspit so don't pay mains sewer costs.