Re-assessing Water Management.

This Summer we went through another record heat wave. Over about five days the temperatures reached record limits. It got so hot our temp gauge reached its top measurement and had nowhere to go. We had our beer that was brewing in a tub of water to keep its temp down.

Two days were particularly hot, and it was too much for the garden after a few days of this onslaught almost all plants had given up the ghost. Already the long hot days and the overly dry summer conditions had already taken their toll on my newly established garden.

What’s left of our veg garden – only the hemlock grows now.

It was a tough lesson to learn, the garden was not yet a year old, many of the trees were yet to be established. After speaking with my father a sixty six year old farmer, he replied, ‘Dappled shade Sara, plants need dappled shade in our summer. Full sun is too much . All plants do better if they have dappled shade.’

Looking around I find that the only plants doing well are theme shade of trees in the riverbed just down an embankment from our house. It’s not far but very steep and we will need to cut in some steeps into the cliff side it’s probably only twenty or thirty yards from the creek bed to the level of the house.

So i’ve decided to relocate garden to down this embankment, a little way from the house in the dry creek bed , where it will have the protection of some part-shade from trees growing there. Also there will be a water source from a pipeline we’ve run from a spring down the mountain into the creek bed to syphon water to the house.

We realized also, we needed another water source as this year we ran out of rainwater. We are in the process of running a pipeline from a spring from up in the mountain next to us, into the dry creek bed and now next challenge is to get enough pressure in the line to push it up the height of an embankment and up into a water tank at the house. This is an ongoing project right now , but once we have a pipeline from the spring we should be able to fill our tanks and have more than enough water for the house and garden in the future. It’s important to check with your local authorities about putting lines into springs or rivers on community land.

So we will be replanting our garden at the bottom of the embankment in the riverbed where we will have a water source soon.

Collection of waste water, we bucket on fruit trees

So through the dry summer I’ve had to utilize our waste water for use on the garden, it’s surprising how much water was going down our bathroom and kitchen drains. I was able to water most of the garden with grey water every two days.I simply put a barrel under the out pipe to collect it then I would bucket the water on the garden and fruit trees. The biggest thing was making sure that all products used were now grey water safe, mainly organic cleaning products.

All of our cleaning products in the kitchen bathroom and laundry are now organic eco friendly natural products. And we recycle the household waste water to keep our plants watered. It has defiantly saved us drinking water in the tanks , although we are still very low. As well as recycling our grey water we also have placed water collection barrels at the corner of the sheds and collected more rainwater in them which is also used on the garden. We use a small pump to pump the water in barrels to a larger 1000 litre tank so the barrels are availiable when it rains.

Our goal is to save this year for another large rainwater collection tank to have one on the other shed, as you can never have enough water. Rainwater is our main water resorce, and now when we get the spring fed pipeline we shouldn’t run out of water again. Our climate is defiantly changing, each year gets record highs and low temperatures, extremes are becoming a regular occurance, like, our dry periods are longer, and this winter our ground pipes froze and didnt thaw till ten in the morning. My partner has lived here eighteen years, he said the pipes have never frozen before. Its worrying and who knows how bad things will get as the years go on. We can only try to have the resorces to get through these times. Global warming is happening and it’s here now.

Rainwater collection tank

To recap, these are the things we are implimenting to manage our water resorces on our property to prevent us running out of water, and to keep the garden and fruit trees healthy and happy.

  1. Recycling waste water and so using grey water on garden, and so
  2. Purchasing only grey water safe cleaning products. That is organic, eco-friendly natural bathroom, kitchen and laundry cleaning products.
  3. Relocating garden plot to ground that has more shade to offer, that is dappled shade from nearby trees.
  4. Catching rainwater from roofs using water barrels placed under downpipe. Pumping this water to a larger collection tank to store it for use on the garden.
  5. Placing a pipeline from spring on nearby mountain and running it down riverbed and up into tank at house for drinking and washing water.
  6. Saving to purchase a large rainwater collection tank to place around other house shed to increase our water storage capacity.

One comment

  1. We’re a gaggle of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community.
    Your website provided us with valuable information to work on. You have performed an impressive process and our whole group
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    Like

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