Found 25 results tagged with 'water'

Energy efficiency with hot water

Currently most of out hot water heating is done by electricity although we are are working on a number of strategies to reduce this component. One part of the approach is to keep the thermostat set so that the water is just hot enough.

I was having a conversation with someone about energy efficiency and hot water heating and what was the best temperature setting for the hot water cylinder.

The friend was operating under the incorrect assumption that it was better to have the cylinder as hot as possible so that when water was taken out, for a shower say, there was less cold water entering that required heating. There is a certain surface logic to this but it seemed to me that it doesn't matter what temperature the water is, when you have a shower or do the dishes you are extracting the same amount of energy (in the form of hot water) from the tank and so the energy needing to be replaced is the same.

The issue with keeping water extra hot then, is more to do with the extra energy that is required to maintain a greater temperature  differential between the temperature inside and outside the hot water tank.

According to one website:
"The ideal setting is 60°C. It is important that the water in the cylinder is this hot to kill bacteria such as legionella but higher temperature settings only increase your power bill."
June 17, 2011  energy  hot water  electric  temperature  efficiency 
Woody swale / hugelkultur

Woody swale / hugelkultur

Details  We used the opportunity of having a small excavator on site recently to construct 5 wood filed raised growing mounds on contour.
This technique is often called hugelkultur and exploits the ability of rotten wood to absorb and hold amazing quantities of water which is later made available to plants growing nearby.
The end result was 5 mounds about 7 meters long and half a meter high packed with a full trailer load of rotten willow logs and a wheel barrow of pig manure.
An assortment of fruit trees and berry shrubs has been planted along side in various locations to capitalise on the moisture, slow release of minerals and micro-climate effects of wind, shelter, sun and shade.
Date  July 25, 2014Tags    swale  digger  water 
Freshly created swale

Freshly created swale

Details  It's never too late to add another swale, it's just a matter of squeezing it in amongst the existing plantings, fences and other obstacles.
The swales not only do a fantastic job of capturing and infiltrating surface runoff during rainy times but also break up the land in interesting and attractive ways.
Date  December 03, 2014Tags    Swale  Food forest  Water 
Creating a pond

Creating a pond

Having recently purchased Gaias Garden, a book on back yard permaculture, I was inspired to create a water 'feature' to extend the diversity of the local biological system.
This is an unlined pond dug by hand down into the clay and has a water depth of no more than about 40 centimetres when full.
May 29, 2011  pond  water  frog  fish 
Log Swale / Hugelkultur

Log Swale / Hugelkultur

There is a theory that burying rotting logs can improve the water retention and that plants growing above can tap into that water trapped in the rotting 'sponge' of wood.

Since we had the digger on site I figured we should give it a go - stay tuned for results on this
October 12, 2011  Water  Drought  Digger  Swale 
The top swale

The top swale

Finally, after discovering and experimenting with swales for some time, I have rerouted the rainwater from the house roof to a newly created TOP SWALE. The new excavations run in a fairly straight line through the orchard and overflow into the recently reconfigured garden swales.January 18, 2013  rain  water  swale 
The way of the swale

The way of the swale

A swale is a permaculture technique designed to improve water catchment and retention on slopes. Applicable to varying scales, a swale is basically a ditch or terrace created along a contour line with the removed soil piled on the downhill side. As rainwater drains down the slope above is is caught and absorbed by the swale. Plantings made along the swale will have access to additional moisture for extended period.

My first attempt at a small swale follows the contour line on a northwest facing slope below an existing track. Because of the small size I was able to dig this by hand over 2 periods, using an A-frame level. Over the course of the next few months we will be scattering the kitchen scraps along the length for the chooks to work over, adding their manure and nutrients from the kitchen. Finally it will be planted up in a variety of different plants from ground covers, bulbs and shrubs to fruit and firewood trees.
June 12, 2011  swale  earthworks  rain water 
Restoring China's Loess Plateau

Restoring China's Loess Plateau

Home to more than 50 million people, the Loess Plateau in China’s Northwest takes its name from the dry powdery wind-blown soil. Centuries of overuse and overgrazing led to one of the highest erosion rates in the world and widespread poverty.

Two projects set out to restore China’s heavily degraded Loess Plateau through one of the world’s largest erosion control programs with the goal of returning this poor part of China to an area of sustainable agricultural production.
  land  water  terracing 
Pumping with free energy

Pumping with free energy

Using water to pump water, now that is cool! I have been building a small ram pump for lifting water. The design uses off the shelf components assembled and then cast in concrete.

Overview: Water from a small creek enters a screened intake and is carried via 32mm polythene piping. This has a drop of perhaps a meter over about 70 - 80 meters. This connects to 18 meters of rigid steel 25mm pipe which drops a further 10 meters to the pumping unit. The outlet from the pump delivers water via 15mm poly tubing up to an elevation of around 30 - 40 meters.

While the device works technically it has a number of drawbacks:
  • The water delivery is very slow, perhaps 1 litre every 2 - 3 minutes. This is a result of the various measurements. More water in, dropped from higher or delivered lower would improve the situation.
  • The pump unit stops every day or so due to (I believe) air accumulating at key points in the delivery line. This can be improved by eliminating high points from the line.
  • Pump stops when river drops too low
  energy  water  technology 

Inverted spiral

Details  Combining the popular parmaculture herb spiral concept and the desire to squeeze the maximum amount of edge into a given space, this excavated spiral will serve as an in ground water catchment feature and plant based sun trap with additional aspects such as shaped earth seating and potential fire 'pit'Date  May 24, 2015Tags    earthworks  spiral  construction  water 
Fertigate with ducks

Fertigate with ducks

A simple and effective way to fertigate (fertilise while irrigating) fruit trees or other productive plantings using an old bath tub. Like all good permaculture solutions, this stacks functions by providing the ducks with a source of water to enjoy while collecting their nutrient, discharging it via gravity. It could also provide some thermal mass to help nearby plants during cold times...  ducks  water  nutrient 
Building water catchment swales with a tractor

Building water catchment swales with a tractor

For those with a tractor, plough and simple drag blade, making large scale swales does not necessarily require employing contractors with heavy earth moving equipment. For the cost of the fuel and your time you can quickly add these simple water harvesting and infiltration systems to your land.  swale  tractor  water 
Water smart design and land use

Water smart design and land use

Plan for dry and survive drought with carefully designed and implemented rainwater catchment systems built directly into the landscape. Three core elements to mitigating the effects and impact of drought:
  1. Identify and intercept water flows to keep moisture on the landscape
  2. Improve soils ability to absorb and retain water
  3. Reduce the impact of hot, dry winds
Find out how simple land use patterns and strategic planting can achieve all these benefits and more.
  water  rain  land  farm  service 
Solar - third time lucky

Solar - third time lucky

After several failed attempts to create a low cost, low tech solar water heater I gave in and purchased a complete kit off the shelf. It's only August but we've been having some nice fine days and the temperature has been getting up to high 50's. This unit has 20 evacuated glass tubes with some kind of antifreeze that exchanges heat with water that is pumped through the header. While I would have preferred a passive system I do like the modular nature and programmable smarts of the control centre.August 21, 2013  solar  energy  water  technology 
Sprinkling (at high pressure)

Sprinkling (at high pressure)

Details  It has been really drying out and we have been busy moving hoses to  water as many trees and veges as possible.
We have a well with a pump that delivers 25mm of water at high pressure. While I was trying to come up with a way to apply this water gently to the garden I came up with this simple circular terminus mister (click for photo).
It effectively produces a 4 meter high column of mist. Wonderful on a scorching afternoon.
Date  December 05, 2010Tags    summer  water  garden  sprinkler 
Harvesting rain

Harvesting rain

It's raining today (as they said it would) and it's bloody marvellous. As a free resource, rain should be collected or focussed for use in the right spots at the right time.
One of my processes includes home made guttering, a bath, and an overflow pipe
March 05, 2011  rain  water 

Water wise land shaping and rain harvesting

  • Visual presentation covering key concepts and strategies
  • Tour the numerous swales and water catchment systems and learn how they intercept, redirect and retain water in the landscape
  • Witness how swales and raised beds can be deployed in a food forest setting and how they benefit chickens, ducks and pigs
  • Discuss and demonstrate various tools and techniques
  • Utilising grey water and run-off
  • Mark out a contour line ready for swale construction

Suitable for 1 - 5 people. $5 for each additional person.
1 and a half hours  swale  water  education  $60.00

Rainfall catchment calculator

Rainfall (mm)
Catchment Area (hectares)
Cubic meters ?
Litres ?
  water  calculator 
Water for everyone

Water for everyone

Water is the essence of life and as such we need to be thinking about how to make best use of what we have. The most important work we do is to implement solutions for capturing, storing, diverting and infiltrating rainwater and runoff. This helps build soil, nourish crops, prevent erosion, minimise drought and reduce or eliminate irrigation needs.
Learn about the art of land shaping for natural rainfall catchment, a practical guide to water harvesting and management.
Make the most of the water available, direct surplus water away from wet areas towards dry areas.
Use swales and terraces to halt the flow of water and nutrient off the land and allow it infiltrate and hydrate the soil.
August 21, 2014  water  swale  contour