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The sankey water butt is a 100l plastic "tub" that connects easily to a drain pipe. First you need to connect it, by sawing a draw pipe in 2, removing a small section from the join, and joining the "valve" from the water butt kit into the drain pipe, and reassembling it all together again. Then you place a pipe from the valve, which enters the water but. In this way, if the water butt is full, the excess water can still drain off down the water pipe and not clog up/flood the main pipe... kinda neat. It also means that the tub will fill up depending on how much it rains and how large the area of your roof it that drains into that respective drain pipe.
Anyway, once inside, you can release the water from a tap built into the tub. The top of the tub comes off for cleaning (not that I have done this, I only use the water for watering plants), and for inspecting how much water you have left.
One thing that is annoying is that when you need the water the most (on hot dry summer days), you quite often run out of water. This will depend on how big your garden is, but I tend to find that after about a 4 days to a week on conservative watering in the garden, if it hasn't rained, the tub will be empty. In the winter, or when it is raining, the rain itself will water the plants so there is no real need for this. Because of this I rate this at 4/5 stars. However if maybe you have a greenhouse, and need to water it regardless of the weather, then this is a great idea for you.
Overall then, well price, well made, and easy to install and use. Very good, just use is a bit limited.
The Sankey Waterbutt is a compact design holding 100 liters of water, and ideal for small or compact gardens where space is at a premium. It can also save you money on water bills.
Bought on its own the water butt consists of three items: a screw-in tap, lid and butt. However I bought this as part of a Sankey Kit from the garden centre, complete with stand and downpipe connector, and it is often sold that way.
The butt is dark green, tall, but narrow, with a rounded off square footprint. The flat sides make it easy to fit into corners or against a wall, particularly useful in small gardens where space is at a premium. When empty it is surprisingly light for its size, but also very tough. We've had ours a couple of years and it has lasted through snow, freezes and gales without problems.
The lid is curved rather than flat, and clicks into place. To remove it you fit your fingers into the gap and pop it upwards. To replace it, you put it on and press down until it clicks. It is very obvious if the lid is not on securely, a feature I wanted because of the amount of wildlife around here, and it would be very difficult for an animal to accidentally remove it. The tap comes supplied and simply screws into the prefitted hole. It is a simple lever-tap which turns between open and shut positions to control the water flow.
The plastic is completely opaque, which removes algee problems, but means there is no way to tell how full the waterbutt is from the outside. You need to remove the top to check. However the extra height means that when full it gives good water pressure.
You could use this without the stand as long as the butt is placed on a perfectly flat surface to make sure the base is supported. On an uneven or rough surface like paving or gravel, the stand is necessary. Also, there is a slight curve inwards at the base, and I would be concerned that it could be pulled down or blown over without the stand. The stand is a piece of shaped black plastic about a foot (30cm) high with little claw feet that hold the base of the waterbutt, and a wider base area for added stability. It also lifts the waterbutt so that things like watering cans can fit under the tap to fill (there's a moulded inset in the base to allow space for them).
You could simply buy the butt on its own and fill it by hand, for example if you are on an allotment with no gutter to connect it to. If this is the case you will not need any tools to set this up. However, it works best if connected to the gutter directly to fill itself. The connector is designed for this, and even has an inbuilt overflow system so once the waterbutt is full extra water goes down the drain.
To connect the downpipe connector, you will need a drill and a saw. The instructions are basic, well-written and easy to follow. It took us about an hour, most of which was arguing about the height. At its most basic the process is as follows: At the top of the waterbutt are two flat round inserts, one on each side. You drill a hole in the side you want and attach the hose from the connector to the butt by the supplied nut-and-thread fitting. Then you cut a piece out of the downpipe and slide the connector itself into the gap. This can be done with the downpipe in place on the wall. However, read the instructions before cutting, since the final height of the cut matters!
You can also use these rounded sections to attach waterbutts together for extra storage, useful if you have a main downpipe that receives a lot of rain. The only drawback is that each waterbutt is linked at the top, so will still empty through its own tap. For people with larger water requirements there is a larger version of this waterbutt available that holds 250 litres, and it may be better to buy that.
Using a waterbutt really does help with the garden, especially if you want to use rainwater for organic gardening. It can also save you money on water bills, especially if you are on a meter or live in an area where the water company gives discounts on water that does not enter the drains.
To get the best out of this waterbutt for the garden you want to get the connector and stand as well. However, if you are just looking for water storage, perhaps in a shed or garage, this would be ideal on its own. We've had no complaints about it - in fact we liked it so much we bought a second!