Swales and ducks for a wetter future
It's the end of winter and we have had over 180mm of rain in under 2 weeks. There were a couple of sunny days in early April but it's raining again.
With all this water lying about and running off the land and predictions of more to come courtesy of climate change, it makes sense to be thinking about how to make the most of it while avoiding potential problems.
Water is a vital ingredient for growing trees and vegetables yet too much for too long is no good for soil. Here we have very heavy clay soil and rain quickly pools up and runs down from the hills to the south.
Too much water running along the surface too quickly leads to erosion and destabilisation of land formations. Enter the swale.
As mentioned elsewhere on this site, a swale is a shallow ditch dug along the contour for the purpose of intercepting water as it leaves the land under gravity. Water pools up along the level line and is slowly absorbed by the earth berm on the downhill face and percolates slowly through the soil. This allows water to stay on the land longer before joining a creek, river or ocean. It also means plants downhill swale will have access to soil moisture long after the rain has stopped, less irrigation, less evaporation.
Combine this with puddle loving ducks or Muscovy (a type of geese) and you have an ideal solution for catching and exploiting rain that does not require tanks, pipes and pumps.