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I have a very large water tank which is, despite the drought, completely full and, now there is to be a hosepipe ban, I will need to use this water.  The water has been collecting since before Christmas.  Can anybody tell me if this water is likely to be okay as it is for use on vegetables and fruit trees?  Is it absolutely necessary that I apply treatments such as Biotal, which I would rather not do?  Or is there a free to prepare and natural solution?

I would use it, but I don't grow Veg or Fruit. Can't see that it would cause any problems

Yes it will be alright to use on vegetables and fruit trees as long the water isnt slimy or green , I am using  water out of my water butt, I am also using wate from the washing up and from the bathroom for bushes and flowers. 

Thanks for the responses, v. useful.  I have got a little green growth/slime on the surface of the water.  Is the use of Biotal or similar the only way to get rid of it?


When we had the drought in the '70's, we channeled the water from out washing machine and bath into a but and used it for watering the lawn, I suppose it was the soda in the washing powder, the lawn turned a beautiful rich, very deep green and the flowers were fantastic that year.


I have used water from butts for years although I do tend to empty the butts each winter and get the leaves etc out of the bottom but i've never had a problem when I haven't done it either.

Hi, I have two waterbutts they are not connected to each other, and both are never in direct sunlight, however, the water in the smaller one of the two, stinks to high heaven after a couple of days, and it has to used quickly. I do clean them out every year and both have light proof lids on. I put charcoal pellets in both, and have used the Hozelock product, which does seem to help a bit, but I don`t really want to put chemicals in the water. Any other advice very welcome, cheers. cresser.

Firstly, I Waterbutts strongly deny any suggestions that there is anything wrong with MY water.

Secondly, cresser, where does the stinky water come from? Does it drain off a felt roof? I discovered this particularly vile problem when we put a waterbutt under our garage roof (felted) and the pong was something I can remember even now. Weapons of mass destruction? Nothing compared to that.

I tried everything to sort it but in the end had to abandon the idea as nothing worked.

Hi Waterbutts, I`m sure your water is as pure as the ........... anyway!

The `unsmelly ` water does come off a flat felt garage roof and this is OK, the `smelly` stuff, comes of the house roof tiles, as does the next door neighbours, and they say their water is OK. I actually thought that - perhaps - it might just be the plastic butt itself? as I say, I do clean them both out, and more than once a year if they run out. If I had hair I`d pull it out - ouch. cresser.


I'd use it but onto the ground rather than directly onto the veg, otherwise I'd have to wash it off.

What I did draw a line at and tipped it out was when a pigeon fell in and drowned. The smell was really bad and I tipped out to start again.

I have told the pigeons it's not safe to sit on the edge and lean down to the water but they don't listen


Returning to the original post.  We have used water that is two year's old this summer to water the veg.  It has been in the water butts that long as we hardly used any of it last year.  

It is well covered at all times and is perfectly clear and un-smelly.  It comes off a slate roof.

I don't think thirsty plants 'care' where their water comes from. Pond, water butt or tap.

Welshonion, Hi, how do you manage to keep water so long without a pong?? what sort of butt is it in. cheers, cresser


All my water is in plastic ex-chemical barrels and ex-fruitjuice concentrate barrels.  None of it smells.  The trick is to keep the lid on at all times. Allowing of course water to flow into them from the drainpipes through water diverters.

I was wandering around Stratford upon Avon yesterday and found that they had a branch of Lakeland Plastics there. Just my sort of shop. What did I find inside? A product made from silver and copper which you sprinkle into any container of water that requires cleaning up - fish tanks, animal drinking troughs and.....Waterbutts!

I didn't buy one because I don't have the problem but, if you want to order one (Lakeland are a fantastic company and don't sell tat) they cost £5.99 and are called Fresha Tank Water Cleaner sachets. Their ref: 50909. They are out of stock online but will send one from their Windemere headquarters if you get in touch, they say.

hi iv been using the big blue dairy farmers disinfectant barrels 40 gallon ,cut the top of and leave it sitting on top to stop anything falling in, they never smell and i wash in winter with jeyes fluid as it says on the tin or spray,probs often occur with light coloured plastic they need painting black,im just ordering a new 1000gall but and its a little more expensive to get a black one as they dont green up so much as the others , iv also noticed the farmers here are starting to put these blue butts into the local farm auctions as they are non returnable and fetch about ??12 each but well worth it ,



Hi Alan that's just what I use.  Cut the top off just under the rim, loosen one of the plugs, reverse the top and water will flow in every time it rains.


I'm principally using a 1500 underground rainwater tank, taking the entire rainfall flowing off slate roofs. It holds enough for about 3 weeks' watering of all my pots and veg patch (as long as I don't also water the lawn) in an entirely dry spell like last summer. The water is only a couple of feet under ground level but stays tepid all year round.

No problem with scum etc but I do have to clean leaf rubbish out of the tank's internal filter every so often. I'd skim scum off the top of water in an above-ground butt and then use the water on the earth around plants, not the leaves etc.


Smokin Donkey,

Mike was referring to watering the garden, he wasn't equating the water from a butt with potable water from the tap.  He said ".... Any natural bugs, spores etc that may develp in a water butt are relatively harmless, when it come to watering the garden. ...."

And I can assure you that human urine is frequently used as an activator on compost heaps in this garden 


It's water, full of stuff that's in the surroundings.

I'd put it on the garden, but not on leaves I'd be eating.

I wouldn't drink it.

Everyone has opinions, that's fine, I acknowledge  SD's opinion, and Dove's and Mike's 

and my own


Seconded, nutcutlet.