4 Steps for Constructing a Custom Water Cistern 4 Steps for Constructing a Custom Water Cistern

What You'll Need
Shovel
2 x 4 wood
Stakes
Rebar wires
3/4" plywood
Unscented domestic chlorine bleach

A cistern is a great way for you to collect rainwater which you can then use for domestic purposes like watering your plants. If you purify the rainwater that you have collected, you can even use it for cooking and bathing. Cisterns are an efficient way for you to conserve drinking water. Having a cistern can also serve as a back-up water system, especially for those people that live in places that have frequent water shortages during the warmer months of the year. The great thing about cisterns is that they are usually easy to construct. Any average homeowner can build one.

Step 1 - Excavate

You can choose to do the digging yourself or hire a professional excavator to do the job for you. Cisterns can be as shallow or as deep as you want. A good cistern measurement is a hole that is 12 feet in length, 8 feet in depth and 8 feet in width. Because that would be a rather deep cistern, you would be better off letting someone else do the excavation for you.

Step 2 - Construct the Floor

You can build your cistern floor pretty much the same way you would a sidewalk or driveway. Make a rectangular framework on the cistern floor with the use of stakes. Make use of a 2 x 4 and secure the material with stakes every two feet. Pour concrete on each framework. You may choose not to remove the form wood from the floor if it's too difficult. When you are done with all of your pours, lay down concrete reinforcing mesh.

Step 3 – Construct the Walls

To construct the walls, you need to first build the outside forms. Install #6 rebar wires together to form 1 foot grids. Bore holes into the cistern floor with the use of a hammer drill. Set the grid into those bored holes. Make sure that you don't bore deeper than 4 inches. Wire the grids together with the use of rebar in each corner. Once you have the grids set, you can make the inner forms with the use of 3/4" plywood. Make sure that the plywood is supported with 2 x 4 diagonal bracings. Once you have all the plywood in place, pour the concrete into the mold. Strip the forms out once the concrete has sufficiently dried.

Step 4 – Disinfect the Cistern

In order for you to disinfect the water that is collected in the cistern, add 2 drops of bleach per gallon or 3 fluid ounces for every 1,000 gallons. From the size of your cistern, compute how many gallons of water it can accommodate. Make sure to cover the cistern after disinfecting.

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