Current as of 2021-10-02 14:41:21 -0500
Water retention and distribution
We have two sources of water: rainfall and water from shallow wells.
Our goal is to use water from the wells for animal and human consumption only while water from rainfall should nourish plants.
However, in the beginning of the transformation of the land we need to use whatever water source we have in order to establish plants and to provide drinking water. Over time this will change.
As we have inherited depleted soil we need to irrigate plants during summer for the first one or two years. In order to reduce the use of irrigation water we begin by planting whatever can provide shade and cover the soil.
Typical commercial agriculture depends heavily on irrigation for the production of crops. We do not intent to do the same. Instead we want to help plants a bit while they establish themselves and build up humus so that rainwater can be stored for a long time in the soil. Our form of agriculture and forage production is not based on annual plants but relies on perennial plants.
Up until 2019 all rainfall would mostly run off the land and disappear via temporary creeks. We dug a few ponds and swales - mostly rudimentary - to stop the resulting erosion and water loss. Since then we have seen improvements.
According to statistics we have an average rainfall around 500 mm per year. During fall, winter, and spring we can have huge downpours. However, during summer there is no rain at except for an occasional late summer thunderstorm that may or may not happen.
We need to figure out a system that allows rainwater to flow towards areas that are currently drier than others and also to fill up ponds for longer-term storage of water so that we have a reserve for the summer draught.
Zone C is sloped. Something like a meandering temporary creek that interconnects swales with some ponds for overflow and storage would be nice.
Water distribution system
Our farm has a total of 3 shallow wells. Two of them have a solar pump already installed. The pump down at the creek at A01 is the most powerful and able to pump water up to the highest point in zone C.
Install another pump in the well at zone D. We have the pump but lack the solar panels for it.
With the powerful pump at the creek we want to fill up water towers distributed throughout the farm.
For redundancy, the line DN40 coming from the creek should be connected as well to the inlet for the water tower located at A18. Normally the valve is shut but in the case of pump failure (the pump in the well at A17) we might be able to fill up the tower with water from the creek pump.
Animal waterers and irrigation for the market garden in zone B and also the farm house should be connected to both the water tower located in A18 as well as to the water tower located in B08.
Zone A - Main water line DN40
The main water line is of size DN40 and runs from the creek at A01 towards A14 and continues along A18 and A16 where it enters zone C. The tube is located within the biosecurity area in front of the perimeter fence.
In the following picture animal waterers and zones where crops could be grown are shown. The water lines themselves are not shown.
The main DN40 should have Ts and a shutoff valve DN40 followed by a reduction to DN32. The valves should be located inside insulated boxes that are placed inside the biosecurity zone outside of animal’s reach. A DN32 tube then crosses the animal path towards the places where we want to use the water. At the end of the DN32 tube we will have outlets:
- outlet for a hose
- second outlet for a water timer
- direct connection for a drip irrigation line
Paddocks that are suitable for crops other than grass
In general paddocks that have open areas where no oak trees (Encina) are standing can be used to grow some crop. Areas with many oak trees should be kept as grazing zones.
- Connection DN32 to A03
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