Sep 23, 2009

Re: [alternativeenergy-193] Making Plans

Hi Everyone,

In the past three years I have been focusing on collecting heat for our home. Ground Source Geothermal mostly. I have three solar panels waiting to be installed, but they need to be pressure tested with some plan in mind. What is on my mind right now is water, This is the third dry summer for us. We have one catchment pond that collects our roof and driveway water, but that is used up by the small orchard we have. I have added another smaller swale system from our out building for fruiting shrubs.

Last weekend we started clearing another site for a catchment off the highway culvert that runs through our property. This will collect thousands of gallons more that we can divert to other dry areas across the property. I also believe that in the future the most water we catch will be from spring run-off, not rain. With our added ponds, nothing will leave the property over land, and we will have ample water stored in the ground to buffer the dry periods.

Catch and Store what you can.


Todd O Stockdale wrote:
Dan, Are you catching water to use for non-potable uses in your home? This is something I am trying to actively research. I live in SE MN so red tape is likely to be enormous for alternative systems. Thanks. Todd

Hi Todd,

We are not doing that yet, but a friend of mine is doing that for all his water needs. Rainwater collection for in-home use is tricky for a few reasons. The storage needs to be protected from critters and freezing. Even non-potable water needs something to filter out, debris, grit and silt and some height or pressurized tank for distribution. Breaking the plumbing barrier is what municipalities are concerned with. Rain water use needs its own pipes. If I was to do this I would use a washer outside the house in summer and collect the grey water too. Many people in warmer climates have their washer on the porch.

I think a slowly implemented system that incorporates all these concerns would work well, but they are hands on, need maintenance, and a willingness of the owner to monitor the system.

Permaculture books and articles on the web talk of these systems at length. Starting at the top and working your way down insures clean water and a durable system.
You could even start by using a bucket to get water out or a rain barrel and trying a few loads of wash. Then start filling in the parts needed to make it easier.

Once we get a new roof I will look into this as a system for us. All that rain water could go through our house before it hits the gardens (via aquatic plant filtration) and do double duty. No to mention the periodic watering we would supply that it misses now.

A friend of mine just built a new house and the county REQUIRED a grey water system. This type of forward thinking in governments would start requiring residential designs to manage run-off and grey water. Another friend built two drain systems in his house. One grey, one waste. I am sure we all have creative solutions to our own situations. Let's have some fun.



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Permaculture and Polyculture Consulting and Design

Permaculture and Polyculture Consulting and Design
Getting to know your property, the plants you have and those you can grow, is a fulfilling endeavor. With most I am the steward of the land. I give them good soil biology and they do the rest. If I group them in cohesive plant communities, they respond with greater yields. If I encourage the micro-organisms (Fungus and bacteria) , the roots obsorb more nutrients making a pest and disease resistant plant. A stronger plant that gives us more organic food and takes less energy.

A Ten Acre Farm Transformed to an Edible Forest Garden

A Ten Acre Farm Transformed to an Edible Forest Garden
Self Renewing Fertility, Soil Building, Water Catchment, Tea Trail Swale, Erosion Control and Native American Medicinals