We Have a Cistern!

Last year, we had no water on our Greenbelt restoration site. There was almost no die off during the dry summer, but some plants struggled. The bare root plants had the most difficulty.

I asked to have a cistern installed this year so we could water the plants that needed it. It will be a temporary situation; the cistern will be removed once the trees, shrubs and ground covers are thoroughly established.

Even though I wanted the cistern, I wondered how we were going to be able to water the plants. I was under the impression that we would have to carry water by buckets for any plant that was out of the range of a hose. The thought of doing that with only a few volunteers was overwhelming.

I was surprised, and pleased, to discover that will not be the case. I was also astounded by the size of the cistern.

Members of the Seattle Parks Department Natural Area Crew (NAC) managed to install the cistern in a relatively small space without disturbing the three live stakes I had planted in that area.

After the cistern was placed, NAC rolled about 250 feet of tubing across the site — in areas where volunteers won’t be walking. NAC then installed spigots along the tubing every 50 feet or so.

We will be able to attach hoses to the spigots when we are ready to water the plants. The only plants we will need to water with buckets will be those located in areas that are higher than the cistern.

It was a fascinating process to watch unfold. I look forward to watering some plants after the cistern is filled with water!