GaryD

Water

13 posts in this topic

Hi,

 

Water is central to what we do…..particularly since we're largely made up of the stuff.

 

It's also no secret that (like fossil fuels), water is increasingly in short supply.    In fact, peak water is upon us.

 

Here's a list of places that are short of water - places that you wouldn't expect to be on such a list.

 

What strategies do you have in place to ensure your own water security?

 

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very little in place but I hope to remedy that shortly.

 

Amazingly, the house we bought (which was built in 1972) has NO gutters by which to divert rainfall. So that's high on my list of to-dos before our (hopefully) rainy season commences in October. 

 

Then I'll be aiming to modify the landscape to hold as much as possible. Ideally we'll have some tanks at some point… 

 

This is what brought me to these forums - knowing we need to store water and looking for a way to maximize its functions during storage - ie. in a pond/aqua-vegeculture system, etc., and why wicking beds and iAVs have piqued my curiosity.

 

Looking forward to hearing what others have in place...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Neighbour,

 

Having a house with no gutters is a blessing if you happen to life in a tropical environment.....since they get filled with debris and overflow anyway in the event of a tropical downpour.....but gutters are certainly handy if you're planning to capture the rainfall.

 

We've recently installed a 5000 litre tank....and we'll probably get more.

 

Arguably my most exciting water harvesting strategy is in our new fodder forest space.  Here we have two micro-swales (filled with tree mulch) that feed a variety of fodder plants (moringa, pigeon pea, comfrey, Chou Moellier, etc).  We intend to put a chicken composter at the top of this space (with the idea that nutrients move downwards in any landscape).  At the bottom of the slope, we have a small pond.  The pond overflows onto a vacant block alongside of ours.

 

We have yet to capture water from our studio/workshop.  We'll probably put small storages (around 1000 litres each) on each of two gutters and the overflow will be directed into the adjacent micro-swales.

 

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A tropical downpour would be welcome here. Let's see, our largest rain event ever recorded was…3 inches (~97mm) in 24 hours, in 1994. Generally we get no more than 1 or 1.5 inches in 24 hours, though we still have to clean the gutters out :)

 

Because we have to go so long between rains (6 months, essentially, is the span between the end of the rainy season (April-ish) and the start of the next (late Oct or Nov), small barrels are not a logical choice. Best is to harvest it in the landscape and have some large cisterns. In my town, I doubt anyone really has that - at least front yards appear to shed all water equally, and the most I've ever heard of are the 55 gallon blue barrels. Essentially, we've all screwed ourselves - meanwhile, we wait for the city to complete the project to pipe in water from the Sacramento River (yeah, the same Sac River in the article you linked to that didn't have enough water and has gotten too warm to support the salmon cycle). Sigh.

 

edited again to add: Oh, I realized it was from a different article, this one here: Troubled delta system is California's water battleground

Edited by neighbor (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Water tanks are big business here and have been for decades. In built up areas we fit a diverter so the roof is washed by the first few litres of rain to remove heavy metals and the like and the rest goes into the tank. Bushfire areas with tall shedding trees use gutter guards to let the leaves slide over the gutter. I am in the process of diverting my tank overflow into large piles of vegetable matter to stop the water leeching nutrient from the soil. two down. nine to go. this and a few years of the permaculture "chop and drop" technique and I seem to be getting a layer of soil that holds water for around 8 months.

 

have a look at teampoly.com.au or bushmantanks.com.au for some inspiration the same sort of thin is available in zinc or plastic coated corrugated iron.

ILFE and neighbor like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Watching videos like Gabe Brown's....and having just revisited Permaculture water harvesting strategies.....I'm more conscious now of where water goes on my own place.  We've just had a couple of weeks of rain and I find myself following the rainwater wherever it runs.....with a view to creating new water harvesting features.

neighbor likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We live completely off rain catchment in a dry area.  We make tanks like this: http://velacreations.com/howto/cistern-howto/

 

8179210425_6f83fcff59_z.jpg

 

It's basically a round retaining material (sheet metal is fast and cheap) to hold a roof.  Then, we put in a liner to hold the water.  No concrete floors to crack over time, no expensive plastic tanks.  We can put one of these up in a couple of days and add 24,000 liters of capacity to our system. We have 3 of these for the house, then another with a cheap pool liner for the forest garden, and another with a EPDM liner for the animals/barn.  We also have 4000 L plastic tanks on the sheds and such.

 

Any water that doesn't go into a tank gets routed into swales and collection basins for trees and gardens, and the overflow for everything goes to a dirt pond. We try and keep every single drop on this property.

 

Also, don't forget about grey water.  It is a valuable resource most people flush away. We route grey water through a special wicking/filter bed inside the house to grow vegetables year round.

ILFE and crsublette like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Abe, I'm so glad you're chiming in! I've seen your tutorial for making the water tank and while it looks great, isn't vinyl tarp kind of worrisome from a potability standpoint? If PVC (poly VINYL chloride) isn't good, does it not stand to reason that other vinyls aren't as well? I thought EPDM and HDPE were to be preferred.

 

In our situation, I probably need a smaller footprint (thus, taller tank)… and, sadly, without much in the way of building skills (or confidence… or help) am probably going to have to just purchase something.

 

I deal, at this point, manually with greywater (lugging out the dishwater and shower heat-up water)… but that you've got yours routing in the house is interesting...

Edited by neighbor (see edit history)
velacreations likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We use a rated potable liner for the house tanks.  The vinyl billboard is just there to protect the potable liner from rocks and/or sharp edges.  The potable liner is PVC.  The other nonpotable liners we use are fine for plants and animals (pool liner and EPDM).  PVC is really only an issue when it is exposed to UV.

 

We made one of these that was 8 ft (2.5m) tall, as well, though the shorter ones are actually easier to build.  You can go quite tall with these, but remember, the taller you go, the higher the pressure at the base, so plan accordingly.  Buying one is fine, but when you are talking the capacity we are (over 120,000 liters), buying them gets expensive.

 

Our grey water is automatic.  On our town house, we made a trench, filled with wood chips, and then plant along the trench (http://velacreations.com/blog/water-management/).  The grey water from the house dumps into the trench below the surface of the chips, and it works well, though not as efficient as the inside garden.  Still, we're able to grow a lot of plants on the grey water, people don't realize how much water it amounts to.

 

Our rain season has just started and our tanks are already full and over flowing, so I feel like I need to add more tanks!  I hate when they overflow, to me that signifies wasted water (even though it is not wasted, it goes to the gardens/orchard).

 

Another great way to store water for irrigation or animals is cheap above ground pools.  You can find them locally cheap, especially if used.  I think we paid $200 USD for a 2,000 gallon pool, and it was brand new. We use it for swimming, but I have some fish in there and hope to get my filter finished in the coming weeks to add a lot more fish.  I use this fish water for the garden, and then top up with fresh rain water.

Edited by velacreations (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see! I misread, then and thought the billboard vinyl was the main liner! Though I really did think PVC was less preferred than HDPE. ai-yai-yai!

 

I'm planning (if living in California is tenable for the year or two it's going to take for me to get to this - you never know, we might all dry up and blow away sooner than that) to do a branched drain greywater system (requires a permit here) and a laundry-to-landscape installation (no permit required). Legally we're not supposed to use kitchen greywater for anything, but nobody is going to regulate my dishpan comings and goings. My compost pile and shade trees LOVE me - at this point they'd be dry as bone if I weren't out there with that dishwater!

 

(by the way, I very much like your book & I'm going to have a velacreations-inspired mealworm farm in short order here :))

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(by the way, I very much like your book & I'm going to have a velacreations-inspired mealworm farm in short order here :))

 

Thank you very much!  Mealworms are great, the easiest livestock you'll ever raise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Though I really did think PVC was less preferred than HDPE. ai-yai-yai!

 

It probably is, but we just went with what we could find.  Whatever you get, make sure it is rated potable.  With irrigation, it's not as big of a deal, EPDM is fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All of these ideas are nice if one has the room for storage.  So what do we limited space Condo Dwellers do?  I can store some water in jugs but that becomes a problem quickly for room.  So I have my eye on drinking the fish tank if needed. Other then a water bed which I don't have, we the people in the concrete jungle are in trouble if the water stops for us.  Most likely they will all visit you very quickly.  Water wars are on the horizion for sure. Maybe hide the fact of holding onto it in bad conditions would be the better thing to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now