Water butt, Automatic Timer Irrigation from Pump

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Hi

I am looking to use my water butts to automatically irrigate my garden (by timer)

The basic current setup is:
  • Small slimline 100l tank close to the house taking water from the house roof.
  • Larger 250l tank at the top of the garden (about 15 meters away) taking water from the shed roof
  • I have 20mm irrigation pipework connecting the two together via a hoselock 4 way diverter mounted next to the smaller water butt. We are currently also using the diverter to fill up the watering can
  • We have raised beds, and there is not enough gravity pressure to water the beds
  • The raised beds are about 30 meters long (either side of the garden and about 500mm wide.

I would like to achieve:
  • Automatic timer to water the beds (possible with a hydro sensor I have seen on the more expensive mains water systems
  • A pump that will power on with the timer.
  • As it would be used when we are on holiday, it would need to be reliable.

I have looked into water butt pumps, but I don't think these work with the automatic timer as you would need to leave it on (I might be wrong though?) The hoselock one appears to only have a mains switch and the float switch to prevent run dry, but not pressure (eg if the value is switched off on outlet, the pump will continue to run). I don't think I would feel comfortable leaving this in an on state while away on Holiday.

Are there any mains powered timers that contain a pump for this use - possible with a run dry detection.
Has anyone used a 12v marine bilge pump - possibly with an integral float switch?

Any help appreciated.

Thanks

Adam.
 
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I have no experience of watering timers etc, but it's something I should look at one day!

To remove the need to run a pump whilst you are away, is it possible to increase the head on the water storage? I don't know your garden - either raise the water butts;
Or add a raised tank (possibly at the far end of the garden) that you run a pump to fill whilst you are home. In saying that, you'd be aswell to use mains water!
Another idea would be a 12v pump running off a solar panel to feed the tank.


ps 350l doesn't seem a huge amount of water storage, how many days of garden watering will that do?
 
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Hi scbk,

Thanks for the reply.

The garden is sloped towards the house so the larger water butt has been taken off the base to make it level with the smaller water butt at the house end. We have a paved seating area near the house so I would not really want to increase the height (which would probably be about a meter to give enough head I would think) from a safety and visual point of view.

The butt at the top of the garden would need to be raised (probably by about 600mm) also to give enough head. I don't have any other space to store another tank as the area is quite small.

I'd rather not use mains as much as possible as we are metered.

I had thought about using a solar 12v pump, but didn't think they would be good enough for the length of beds and overall longevity - I could be wrong though?

Regarding the 350l, I agree it is not a massive amount. We usually go away for only a week at a time so, 3 waterings (eg every other day) would see the beds over until we get back I would hope.
 
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