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Re: [Shop-talk] How to Make Water Flow Downhill

To: David Hillman <>
Subject: Re: [Shop-talk] How to Make Water Flow Downhill
From: "Peter J. Thomas" <>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 11:15:36 -0400
David Hillman wrote:
>    Since we've been on the topic of moving water around lately, and I 
> cannot figure this problem out, I have to ask this stupid question.  
> How can I make water flow downhill?
>    A couple weeks ago, I bought a rain-barrel 'kit' ( not much more 
> than a plastic barrel, really ).  I drilled a hole near the bottom, 
> and installed a spigot, that works great.  I cut a hole in the top, 
> and run a gutter downspout into it, also no problem.
>    Where gravity seems to be broken is in the area of the overflow.  I 
> drilled a hole, and installed a simple fitting to which I attached a 
> garden hose.
>    Water will not flow through that hose when attached to the barrel.
>    I've tried two different hoses ( and normal garden hose, and this 
> coiled one pictured ), with the same result.  They are not blocked, 
> kinked or otherwise obstructed, and they flow fine when attached to 
> any other source.  When I remove the hose, water flows out just fine 
> as you can see here.
>    It doesn't make any difference if the lid or cap on the barrel are 
> tight, since they aren't close to air-tight.  With either hose on, the 
> barrel will fill completely, and overflow out the top, but it will not 
> flow downhill, unless I open the spigot at the bottom which will drain 
> it fine.
>    This should be so simple.  I am out of ideas.  Anyone have any? 
> Thanks.
Looking at the pics, the barrel is not level.  The water sitting on top 
of the barrel suggests the overflow side is on the high side. My guess 
is the overflow is an inch or two higher than it would be if the barrel 
was level.  The overflow is also angled up.  Add a stiff hose and the 
water out the overflow has to travel UPHILL and inch or so.  Look at the 
pics with the hose off and on.  It appears the hose is higher than the 
stream flowing out without the hose.  Leveling the barrel would 
effectively lower the overflow a couple of inches and reduce the uphill 

One observation: your overflow is too small.  The downspout which is 
guessing 10 square inches; the hose has maybe 1/4 square inch ID.  The 
thickest garden hose won't be able to handle the overflow;  they make 
downspouts big for a reason.

Peter Thomas
> -- 
>  David Hillman
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