Rain Catchment Awesomeness (and some BSP)

Water flowed over the stone steps

Water flowed over the stone steps

First, a little BSP (blatant self-promotion).  There is a wonderful ezine called San Diego Loves Green featuring topical local articles and snippets that reflect on the growing green community here in, you guessed it, San Diego.  The San Diego Permaculture Group has an ongoing column, and yesterday I was the guest writer.  My article is on the importance of planting natives , with some information that you might find surprising, or that you may have already read in my blog about the same subject.  Also (more BSP) if any of you attended the Southern California Permaculture Convergence this weekend, and still yet, if any of you listened to my talk on soil, first of all I’d like to thank you for your attention and attendance, and I hope I answered your questions and solved some problems for you.  You can search on my blog for many posts concerning nitrogen -fixing, or 50 Ways to Leave Your Compost , and see my composting toilet (I went to a Garden Potty).

We had almost two inches of rain on Thursday night.  In San Diego we rarely receive the long soaking rains that we really need.  Instead we must be ready for flash floods.  If you are familiar with Finch Frolic and the labors we’ve been undertaking in the last two years to hold the rainwater, then you may be curious to find out how the property survived this last middle-of-the-night flooding and hailstorms.  If you remember, not only is there the water flowing off the roof and falling onto the watershed property, but also an unmeasurable amount that is purposely channelled runoff from all the neighbor’s properties that runs through mine.

All basins full!

All basins full!

Since the permaculture project was installed I haven’t had any of the erosion that plagued the site.  As of last year I’m pretty sure that every drop that falls on my property is caught, in rain catchment basins, the ponds, and in the loam and compost in the guilds.  The challenge was to also keep all the neighbor’s water on my property as well!  I’m thrilled to say that we almost did it!

There is a new bog area being designed by Jacob Hatch just above the big pond.

The new bog area

The new bog area

This area had been designed to channel overflow water from the rain catchment streams around the pond and down a black tube to the stream bed below.  Greedy me wants all that water!  With the creation of another silt basin, and now that there is vegetation in the stream to hold onto the silt, I’ve made the water now flow directly into the big pond.  There are planned overflows from the big pond, and water did overflow where it was supposed to.

The big pond was filled to capacity, making the duck house do a sinking ship impression because of the length of the rope attached to the anchor wasn't long enough.

The big pond was filled to capacity, making the duck house do a sinking ship impression because of the length of the rope attached to the anchor wasn’t long enough.

The first rain catchement basin was enlarged a lot so as to catch water higher on the property.

The first catchment basin was deepened

The first catchment basin was deepened

There is decomposed gravel in that one so the water perculates quickly, thank goodness, as most of the other basins hold water due to the clay composition of the soil.

Water following the basins.

Water following the basins.

Also, a rain catchement basin was created along the top of the cement channel that normally funnels water off the property.

New basin, empty

New basin, empty

A series of these will be created all along the channel, allowing water to slow, gather and perculate along the length of the property, with  no outlet at the end.

Full!

Full!

This will take some of the flow pressure off of the water diverted down into the main series of basins.

The only area breached was actually due to a gopher hole whose origin  must be in the stream.  I could tell by the swirls in the mulch where the erosion happened.

Swirls tell of a breach.

Swirls tell of a breach.

There is also the slight problem of water flowing down my own driveway and then down the trail.

Water funneled down my driveway.

Water funneled down my driveway.

I think a small hugelkultur bed might slove that problem.

The verdict?  Almost all the water was retained on the property,even that of the neighbor’s!  A few tweaks and we are well on our way to total rainwater dominance!  Mwwahahahahahahaha!

Mwwahahahahahahaha!

Mwwahahahahahahaha!

 

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