How To Build A Homemade Cistern For Water Security | Simple!

If you’re interested in building a cistern, there are a few things you need to know. The first thing you’ll need to choose a location for your cistern. It’s important to choose a spot that is high enough so that gravity can do its job and move the water from the cistern to where it’s needed. I would also find local information on the amount of annual rainfall your area gets a year. 


This will help when determining how large of a cistern you need so you have lots of clean water. If you find your area gets very little rainwater you would want to build bigger to collect more of that precious clean water. 


You’ll also need to make sure that your cistern is large enough to hold the amount of water you want to collect. Once you’ve chosen a location and size for your cistern, you’ll need to decide what material you want to use to build it.


There are many options available, including concrete, plastic, metal, and even earthbags. A cheap and durable way is to build a concrete cistern. These options have their own set of pros and cons, so be sure to do your research before making a decision. Whatever you choose you have made a good investment because rainwater harvesting is such a great way of having clean water. 


There are so many perks of rainwater harvesting that if you live on a homestead and you are not rainwater harvesting you should consider it. That being said, if you have wells and other sources of water then the need to do so is not so great understandably. It is however a great backup if you already have other sources of water as one of your sources could be contaminated.


The cost of building a cistern will vary depending on the materials you use and the size of your cistern. However, it is generally an affordable project that can save you money in the long run.



What are the differences between underground cisterns and aboveground cisterns?


Well, one is clearly above ground and the other is not. They require different elements to make sure that things are working. 


One of those elements could be how with an underground cistern you need to pump the water. 


What if you do not want to pump the water?


The other option would be using gravity. So you would need to find a location on your homestead that is higher up so that the water would flow down when you would allow it to. You could build a mound of dirt and then build it on top as another option if you want to go the gravity route.


Many people use a pump a hand pump or a regular pump to get their water from the cistern. 


I love underground cisterns because they are better than above ground


This is because of the different things that occur with an underground cistern in comparison to an above-ground cistern. One of the biggest things that I absolutely love is that underground cisterns stay cooler during the hotter months of the year. 


Soil Temperature


The water stays cool because the further you go down in the soil the cooler it becomes. This is because the soil maintains a cooler temperature than the surface soil. That is why people used to build wine cellars in the ground to keep the wine cool. The same can be said for preserving food. 


You also do not run the risk of having your water become ice. This is common with an above-ground cistern that is in a colder environment. It may not seem like a big deal, it’s not the greatest having to break up the frozen water from however many feet above. 



This is why you should go with an underground cistern as, they are truly the way to go! 


The cost of a cistern?


The cost of a cistern installation can vary quite significantly depending on a number of factors. If you are someone with more time than money, then it may be possible to install a cistern for relatively little cost. However, if you would prefer to have a professional do the work for you, then you can expect to pay upwards of $1,500 for the job.  If you can find a better deal or know someone who can do it cheaper than all the better! Ultimately, the decision of how much to spend on a cistern installation is one that only you can make based on your own circumstances.


The cheapest way is to build one yourself, you will sacrifice time but your wallet will thank you. 




What makes up a cistern?


A cistern is made up of three components: the water collection system, the filter, and the water storage vessel. The water collection system must be free of any material that might pollute the water it catches. The shut-off in the downspouts helps to keep the collected water clean. The filter removes any impurities from the water before it is stored in the cistern.



Cisterns are an important part of any water collection system, and their components must be carefully chosen in order to ensure a clean and safe supply of water. The most important part of a cistern is the collector, which must be made of a material that will not contaminate the water it collects. In addition, the collector must be installed in such a way that it is protected from debris and other contaminants. A properly installed and maintained cistern can provide a safe and reliable source of water for many years.


How do you get the water out of a cistern?


If you need to get the water out of a cistern, the best way to do it is with a cistern pump. Cistern pumps are designed specifically for pumping water out of cisterns. They can be operated by hand or by an electric motor, and they come in a variety of different sizes. The size of the cistern pump you need will depend on the size of the cistern you have. 



When cisterns are used to store rainwater, they must be properly cleaned and maintained to prevent the growth of mold and algae. One way to clean a cistern is to use a cistern pump. This type of pump can be inserted into the cistern and used to remove any sediment or debris that has accumulated over time. Additionally, the pump can be used to circulate the water and keep it from becoming stagnant. As a result, cistern pumps are an essential tool for anyone who relies on cisterns for their water supply.


The Many Perks Of Rainwater Harvesting



There are many perks to rainwater, one of which is that it is a clean and dependable source of water. Rainwater can protect your soil from erosion by capturing it in a cistern or tank. It’s really great in that rainwater is absolutely free which is what makes it such a great option for those looking for an alternative to traditional sources of water.



Cisterns Materials For DIY



There are many ways that you can create your own cistern. The benefit of doing it yourself is that you are able to determine how large you want it to be without the worry of the cost in comparison to paying someone to do it. 


What are the best ways to build a cistern yourself?


The first way is to dig a large hole in the ground. Then you will pour concrete in a square or circular shape. You can easily do this without heavy machinery. A simple and cheap concrete mixture would do the trick. This would be for forming the foundation. I would make sure to make the foundation two inches in thickness with rebar. Then you can use cinder blocks to build the structure of your cistern. 

Once you have built it the way you want it, you will need to make sure it holds water.

So putting in a lining that you can easily buy online or in a store. Once the lining is in place I would add gravel or rocks on the outside of the cistern. This will help with water that flows around your cistern. You could also put a waterproof lining or membrane on the outside of the cistern for added protection. Then you need to fill the hole and cover your cistern in the dirt. 

Make sure you don’t cover the lid to the top of the cistern because you won’t be able to get water into the cistern or out of it!

Think of a cistern as a structure underground that holds water for human consumption.

The second way to build a homemade cistern is using earthbags. This will take longer than the first route but is probably cheaper. The earthbags are filled with soil and are given strength by using barbed wire in between the earthbag layers. So you would need to buy the earthbags, heavy-duty gloves, and barbed wire. 

I think a great way to build a cistern with earthbags would be in a circular shape. You would dig a hole deep down, and wide. Then you could start using the earthbags to build the structure. Once completed you have to put the lining in the cistern in order to hold the water, your earthbag cistern is up and running. 

You can have this structure be afoot our two out of the surface of the ground. It can be higher out of the ground depending on what you prefer. You could use the top of your earth bag-made cistern to fill up the cistern itself. I would have roof water from my house and the water that falls on top of the cistern contributing to filling it up. 

The top could have gutters on the sides and funnel it into the cistern. 

Visualize a cone shape top and the water falling off the top. This is utilizing every inch of rainwater collection space. The top/roof of the cistern can be flat as long as it’s made in a way in which water will not pool on top. If you are in an area where there is heavy rains or snow then you have to make sure that the water flows off the top. You do not want snow or water pooling on the top of your cistern for obvious reasons. 

You do not need to make the top of the cistern collect water, it’s only an added way of collecting rainwater. You would just cover the cistern in its entirety, in earth. You still need to have access to the lid so you can see the water as well as funnel water into and out of the cistern. 

I highly recommend building a homemade cistern system as it’s not an expensive way to increase water security especially if you are off-grid and there are no natural water resources on your land such as groundwater. Even if you do have other water sources why not add rainwater to the list!

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