Using underground water

A reader has sent me this question:

‘Dear Michael

I may have a spring (h2o) or some form of h2o course running through my front yard under the middle of my house & than exiting from the northern corner of the rear of the house. This has been confirmed by a builder who has taken the ‘levels’ to level the house where the house has ‘sank’ in these areas.

The house is a 1950′s weatherboard constructed on piers whereby due to the land sloping from the road frontage to the back of the block it will be necessary to consider drainage & h2o diversion.

My question is how to make best possible usage from this diverted h2o i.e. pond(s) storage with long term view for grey h2o treatment & recycle capacity.

I have one immediate neighbour on the immediate opposite boundary fence.’


And this is my answer:


Dear John

Thanks for getting in touch.
May I suggest:
  • get a sample of the water in a 1 litre used water bottle and take it to your local chemist and ask him to send it to their lab and test for:
  • lead, mercury, zinc, cadmium, faecal coliform – cost is about $100
  • direct the water to an underground 200 to 400 litre tank with a pump which pumps the tank empty when it’s full and directs the pumped water to an above ground storage tank at least 5,000 litre capacity.
  • once you get the tests back you can decide whether to use the water for all household purposes or just for clothes washing, toilet flushing and gardening
  • take another sample and test about a month later to confirm the first lot of tests
More info is in my book, second edition, Sustainable House;…
Let me know how it turns out.
Good luck.
Some more gifts from our lovely torn Earth,



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  • Michael Mobbs

    Michael is a former Environmental Lawyer who is uniquely placed to consult in four main areas:

    • Sustainability Coach and Speaker,
    • Sustainable Urban Farm Design greening, watering and cooling the cityscape, roads, parks, suburbs,
    • Major Projects Consultant Commercial and Industrial,
    • Residential Sustainability Consultant.
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