A swale assessment

The first serious winter storm hit with a snowy wet blast and dumped a over 75mm in 24 hours. This is exactly the kind of situation the extensive network of swales was built to handle. During the day I made numerous excursions out into the cold to assess and marvel at how the water was collected, channelled and redirected, distributed and absorbed.

It was most interesting to witness, early on, how the lower swales were completely empty. Then almost suddenly, as the land above could hold no more they were full.

The purposely created diversions which redirect water from the pond when it reaches critical capacity and allow the top swale to discharge into the garden region were trickling and gurgling in gravitational harmony and the liquids pursued their level...

Click for some larger photos

A thin layer of snow covers the new swale that cuts into the lawn. The water is mostly surface run off with some also coming from the deck roof down spout.
The same swale the next day with the snow gone. Despite only being a new months old (if that) it seems to be retaining water nicely.
The vegetable garden has it's share of water too. This was not an intentional feature but the sunken paths happen to be on contour and so they flood with water, just one more level of moisture buffering.
The top swale above the primary orchard. This is the initial collection and disbursement point fort the majority of the rainwater off the house roof, and of course all uphill surface run off.
Secondary swale capturing seepage and some overflow from the top swale. This one has been here for a while now and is pretty settled in.
Out in the food forest there is a lot of water coming off the chook house roof. There are now 4 levels of swale that cascade water from one to the next as they reach capacity.
A hurriedly constructed interception and redirection trench designed to intercept overflows and run off from the swales around the lawn and move the water away from the edge of our rather serious cliff. No need to encourage land slips here!


winter  snow  swale