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Case Study

Rainwater Harvesting for Horse Arena and Livestock

A family in Cochrane, Alberta, was trucking water to meet the water needs of their rural home. When they built a new riding arena on their property, they saw a long-term solution for a sustainable onsite water supply.

They built a rainwater capture system into the new structure. The large roof of the new indoor arena posed an additional challenge.

“We decided to put in the tank to solve two problems: gather water for use and prevent a drainage problem,” says the owner.

The family is planning to use the stored rainwater to water and wash the horses, to supply water to the dust-control sprinkler system in the arena and to meet their landscaping needs.

The benefits of a fiberglass tank

Both the property owner and installer saw several advantages with Xerxes by Shawcor fiberglass tanks.

“Besides being manufactured nearby, a fiberglass tank is easier to deal with than concrete,” says the owner. “It is safe, it is durable and it lasts.”

The corrosion-resistant material will prevent the owner from having to replace the tank in a few years because of cracks and leaks.

AM MacKay Diversified, Ltd., the excavating company that installed the tank, has worked with Xerxes on several projects in the past. Company president MacKenzie MacKay enumerates the advantages of our tanks – many centered on cost.

“With the large capacity required for the project, precast or cast-in-place concrete is cost-prohibitive,” he says. “And, a fiberglass tank can be installed in a few days. Precast concrete requires multiple tanks to meet the same capacity, and the crane required for precast concrete tanks is large, and time-consuming to mobilize and rig. These all add cost to the project.”

Environmental advantages


“Creating concrete tanks involves a lot of supplies and wasted materials, such as wood fasteners that are then thrown away,” explains MacKenzie. “Lots of supplies are needed to pour or seal a concrete tank and they all need to be trucked in. This all has a negative environmental impact. The Xerxes fiberglass tank is just the opposite. The fiberglass tank shows up onsite as a single-piece unit ready to be installed. And the styrofoam insulation that protects them on the truck during shipping can be used to help insulate inlet piping to the tank. That’s it, no wasted materials.”

Ease of installation in any conditions

“We were very concerned about weather as daily thundershowers made it difficult for us to move equipment around the site,” explains MacKenzie. “Because the fiberglass tank is lightweight, we were able to leave the delivery truck on the hard surface road, which was quite a distance away from the excavation hole. We lifted the tank with a small crane over a ditch and into the prepared excavation. This eliminated the challenges of trying to maneuver the truck and trailer in the slippery site. We could not have done that with concrete tanks.”

“From the sales team to everyone involved in drawings and shipping of the tank, it was a very smooth process, all with great communication,” says MacKenzie. “It couldn’t have gone better.”

Application highlights

  • – Rainwater tank provides water source and eliminates drainage problem
  • – Fiberglass tank was easy to install, even in tricky weather and site conditions
  • – 23,775-gallon/90,000-liter tank (10-foot-diameter)
Livestock rainwater tank