The reason the soil needs to be so deep is so the sav can make his own hides. I put boards down on top of the dirt and secure them to the sides of the cage. Clear some dirt out from under these boards and ur sav will do the rest. They will dig it how they like it. I use a mid size Rubbermaid for the water. Its easy to clean and you can just pull it out and dump it when you need to.