Water Harvesting QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.
The First Half of Our Agenda1. Check In2. Best of Last Week: water3. Story Telling: Collecting water in the old days4. Water Score5. Contour/Swales6. Building A-Frames & Bunyips7. Ponds8. Harvesting Water in the Cities *****BREAK*****
Let’s check in! How are you feeling today? Did you sleep well?Did you have a great breakfast? Are you ready to learn?If you are ready, say OUTLOUD: “I’M IN!” as a small commitment to being intentionally here today.
Best Of Last Week My favorite part of the day! Let’s share what we thought was the “best” of last week’s readings and viewings and other comments.Click HERE to go to the Google Doc!
Story-telling is another great way to remember It’s what most of, if not all of, our ancestors did. In the comment box below, I would like to hear how you got your water when you were a kid. (For me I had Fairbanks water, but when we left town, that’s when finding water was important and fun.)You can also tell how your grandparents got water if you want.
What is your water score? Click HERE to find out. Now I want you to imagine. Imagine that it’s 2050 and there is no moregas/oil/power to send water to our faucets. Whatwould you do to get water to the house you are in now? Type your responses in the comment box.
So how can you get water for free?True story: I’m working with a client right nowwho can’t afford her $85 a month water bill here in Eagle River anymore.She needs a different system. She’s around 70 years old, so she can’t do it herself andshe can’t pay to have it done. I’m not sure what will happen. Can you just turn offyour water to your house without the city coming to see what’s going on?
First, you have to capture it before it gets away.There are several ways to dothat, but the Permaculture ruleof thumb is:
With the A Frame Marking you can mark off Contour contour lines on your field. Use stakes to Lines mark these contour lines and remove Click here to learn how to build them as the ditch is an A Frame. dug. The spacing between contours depends on QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. the steepness of the ground, the drainage qualities of the soil and the amount of rainfall in the area.Source
Formula to figure out how to space your swalesDistance between swales based on steepness of slope. Grade Distance 2% 1:50 30m 98ft 35% 1:3 8m 26 5% 1:20 28m 92 40% 1:2 5m 20 8% 1:12 24m 78 45% 1:2 4m 13 10% 1:10 20m 65 14% 1:7 18m 59 16% 1:6 16m 52 20% 1:5 14m 45 25% 1:4 12m 40 30% 1:3 10m 33
You can also use a BUNYIP to measure contour. Click here to learn how to make a bunyip.Now watch guru Brad Lancaster show how to use it. CLICK HERE
Digging The ditches are 12” wide and 8-12” deep. The steeper the land, the closer together the ditches should be. Contour On steep land the ditches may be just a few feet apart. On nearly Ditches flat land, they may be 65 feet apart. QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.Source
Planting Grass Barriers on a steep slope QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. SourceGrass or other close-growing plants should be planted on the uphill side of the ditch. This protects the ditch from filling up with soiland prevents the soil from being carried down the hill by rainwater. In fact, this pattern (holon) may actually build soil.
Here’s a side QuickTime™ and a decompressorare needed to see this picture. view of a swale
Holding water in a swale QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.
Check damns slow it And catch eroded soil.Source
WATTLES (NET PATTERN)You can also use willow branches (8”-12” in diameter) calledwattles for your check damn. They need to be 1/2 buried in atrench so they stay put. The net captures debris coming downthe hill. (A beaver damn model) You can also stake them. Source
SlowingSpreadingSinking These are also called fish scale swalesSource
So how would this work in the tundra? Could you use contour ditches to drain water off? What would that do to the tundra? I’ve seen what airboats do in the Tanana River flats, what four wheelers do, even what snow machines do: Permanent swampy tracks.
Intervention• So I asked my mentor, Rick Valley, about the “burden of the intervener” -- once you intervene, you are responsible for that system.• I wanted to know how I would know if a system SHOULD BE intervened upon. His answer was, “TAPO” (Thoughtful and Protracted Observation)• So before you jump into anything big, do some observation, test a small portion. If it likes being disturbed, you should be able to notice.• I continue to worry about being too Anthropocentric.
Here’s Tim Myer’s Farm in BethelHe is not farming oncontour, but perhaps thefields are positioned towardthe sun. They don’t look toowet, do they?
Bringing the water to where you need it. Conserve energy by making ponds at the highest point on your land as possible.Use gravity to water yourgardens or chicken coopsor dog water bowl.
Building pondsFind (any time you can take waste out of the system and reuse something, you are using the 3rd ethic: return the surplus to the system)1. Food grade barrel2. plastic kids pool3. Wool blankets made after 1980 (sheep dip)4. Old plastic pond liner
Or, just dig it!1. Line it with old carpet, so rocks don’t poke through,2. Cover it with an EPDM Pond liner,3. Cover the liner with gravel.4. Make sure there’s at least a foot of edge before it goes deep.
InoculateGet a turkey baster and get bacteria froma working pond.Then add fish to eatmosquitoes.A stagnant pond doesn’treally help the system.
Check out Sepp Holzer’s Farm in Austria Sepp used contour to build his lakes high in the landscape and uses it to water his farm below. He did use a bulldozer.
What about the cities? You can still harvest water easily. Here are some examples:
Underground Storage QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.See the rain falling off the corner of the house? They have four plasticThis is at O.U.R. Ecovillage near Vancouver BC cisterns under the ground atwhere I visited last spring. each corner of the house.
If it’s for drinking, this is good forcleaning what’s on your roof before it goes into the tank..
Nancy Lee Evans’ Rain WaterCollection System in Homer It has the flush system you just saw so that it doesn’t take the first bit of The rain water then is water off gravity fed into the the roof. basement.
Nancy Lee Evans’ Rain WaterCollection System in Homer This system can also be filled by the Homer water supply truck. They have bad water in Homer. Water flows out of the bottom of the tank and through filters to the house faucets.
So now that you’ve seen these models and you startwondering how your piece of land could get free water, read through these principles slowly.
Water Harvesting Principles1. Begin with long and thoughtful observations.2. Start at the top (highpoint) of your watershed and work your way down.3. Start small and simple.4. Slow, spread, and infiltrate the flow of water.
Water Harvesting Principles (cont.)5. Always plan an overflow route, and manage that overflow as a resource.6. Maximize living and organic groundcover.7. Maximize beneficial relationships and efficiency by “stacking functions”.8. Continually reassess your system: the feedback loop.
Side noteThere was a group of us here in Anchorage tryingto turn a church lot into some edible gardens.We met with the church board and their biggestconcern was the cost of water.What if every church would grow food on theirproperty with “free” water?
Next comes planning1.What will the water be used for?2.How much rain falls in a year?3.How much water is consumed?4.The area of roof or other catchment available?5.What size storage can be built?6.Where to place the storage relative to thecatchment and point of use.7.Budget/resources available
And now your thoughts….• Besides the cost of water, we have enough water in Alaska. Why should we have to worry about it? Place just a couple lines in the comment box, you can elaborate in your blog post this week if you want to. I’m hoping that you know me well enough to give your true thoughts, not just what you are expected to say.
TIME FOR A BREAK! Go drink a glass of water!• When we come back…….GREY WATER &BLACK WATERPROCESSING And we’re going on a FIELD TRIP! WHOOT! WHOOT!