Our story from the waterside

Our story is of creating our own waterside for nature, in 2018 we began the task of creating a community garden in our council estate in Rathcoffey, Co Kildare.
There was about 1 and a half acres of waste ground lying idle and costing the council the earth to maintain, as a resident’s association we got permission to use it for our community garden. The gardens have developed very quickly with many amenities including our wildlife pond which is our story from the waterside.
One of our problems was getting a water supply to the garden plots, after consultations with Irish Water and Kildare Co Council the cost of providing a supply was not possible for such a small group of gardeners.
So, the thinking caps were put on and we came up with a rainwater harvesting system that collected 3000 litres of rainwater, stored it until we needed it. It was made from 2001tr drums and lmtr square tubs which were put on a frame of warehouse storage racks over the barrels. The rain was collected in the tubs and piped into the barrels all of which were plumbed together, all material used was scrap except for the plumbing which cost €180. We then added eight 1 BC tanks using the same plumbing system we now can store 11,000lts of water.
At times of continuous rain, the tanks overflowed and just saturated the ground, we then decided to make a wildlife pond using the overflow from the tanks again using a simple plumbing system. The rainwater for the tanks is collected by gutters fitted to our polytunnel and from the roof of our portacabin soon to be our community centre, the barrels and IBC tanks are now connected together each tank is isolated by a valve, so only one tank empties at a time.
As the pond fills from the overflow there is no wastewater and no carbon footprint, we are making our contribution to helping the planet recover. We will landscape around our pond with a small viewing area for children to see the wildlife living there, the pond is 4.5 metres squared and is covered by a steel mesh for safety with an easy way for our wildlife to get in and out of the pond.
The overall project has been completed by volunteers using as much scrap materials as possible with this low cost we have called our gardens the “Zero Waste Community Gardens Rathcoffey” The whole place is a fabulous amenity for the residents here and our local community and local school.