• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Permaculture: A Designers' Manual - Chapter 7 WATER  RSS feed

 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 10014
Location: Portugal
925
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


Chapter 7 WATER

7.1 Introduction
7.2 Regional intervention in the water cycle
7.3 Earthworks for water conservation and storage
7.4 Reduction of water used in sewage systems
7.5 The purification of polluted waters
7.6 Natural swimming pools
7.7 Designers' Checklist
7.8 References
 
Erica Wisner
gardener
Posts: 1183
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
199
books cat dog food preservation hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just gotta say that Leonardo da Vinci's water drawings remain a major inspiration for my involvement in fluid dynamics generally.
Fire and air pressure follow a lot of the same rules (though with important differences).
Glad to see Leo's quote in the opening remarks.

A couple sites with some of his sketches:
http://witcombe.sbc.edu/water/artleonardo.html
Paul Humphries river ecology blog / website
Architect musing about blobs (but shows some of da Vinci's more inspiring sketches)
 
Ann Torrence
steward
Posts: 1191
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
111
bee books chicken duck goat trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Finally got my homework done! Half-way done with the read-along. Anyone besides Erica still with us?

Would you actually live in a house uphill of a dam like the one in Figure 7.2? Maybe because I grew up in earthquake country, or read about too many dam failures, but no way. Not to mention water seepage under the foundation. Which reminds me of the most ridiculous use of water I ever participated in. When I owned a house in Houston, we actually had to water the foundation if it didn't rain for more than a week or so. The normal rainfall (50+" a year) would keep the ground saturated to a certain degree. If the soil started to dry out irregularly around the perimate, the house could actually start to shift on the weak continental shelf substrate, resulting in the need to jack up your house. One of our friends had many holes drilled THROUGH his interior hardwood floors, subfloor and down into the ground in order to pour new piers to level his house. Another reason I'm glad I don't live there any more. Water+house foundation=bad news. Unless you live on a houseboat.

Why don't we have the Australian toilet? I would install one in a heartbeat if codes would allow. The waste water systems for urban sewage are logical extensions of the idea of turning a problem into a yield at every stage. Why the resistance in the US? I believe it has everything to do with our peculiar obsession with hygiene and even more peculiar belief that science and industry generally improves on nature. Wikipedia has a good overview of the historical connections between hygiene reform, efficiency movements, the creation of the social sciences, temperance, food regulations and other do-gooder projects of the late 19th century progressive era. The NYT had another take on the America obsession with cleanliness

And how is that the Australians can plant fruit trees on their septic leach fields and everything you read in America says that you imperil your drain field with roots. Which is true? I would have put my drain field in an entirely different location if I had thought I could put fruit trees over it. Even an old permies.com thread has an underlying tone of anxiety that Mollison doesn't even acknowledge as real.

The best line so far in the book, describing swimming pools in affluent suburbs as "a virulent aquamarine rash on the urban fringe." Having flown into Phoenix a number of times, I have seen for myself the outbreak of pustules in epidemic proportions. As Mollison says, "if fish can't live in our pools, we should also keep our bodies out the the water." Imagine a 21st century middle class American suburban soccer mom: is she going to alloweher child to swim in a fish pond or the cryptosporidium cess pool at the community swim park? A while back, Salt Lake City had a terrible time with crypto in the community swim parks, mostly because of parents letting their children swim in diapers!

The costs of reading this book keep going up. I have one last opportunity to do more earthworks on my new swales before the end of April. I suspect they are not wide enough. They will probably work as is. I may skip ahead to Chapter 11 and study before telling the DH the expensive news.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Still at it...

I was surprised at the light touch on grey water. There are other sources of information, but I think the septic drainfield modification in Figure 7.37 is the tip of the iceberg taken up by Brad Lancaster and others. I think that's the answer to the question about septic paranoia. Lots of local septic is shifting to shallower and more distributed systems to increase residence time in oxygenated soils and sequestration in plant tissue. South PUget Sound is facing death by suffocation due to nitrogen loading. For coastal ecosystems, terrestrial waste water management and tight nutrient cycling is life or death.

I have been interested in composting toilets, and was struck by the idea that mixing water a feces has value when you are trying to move material easily, and then make methane.

This makes me realize how much of systems design ultimately requires a shared culture among people living in settlements, and that the management of water, and manipulation of the water cycle for the benefit of all is truly a community affair. I think it is a huge entry point for permaculture design into the mainstream, but requires that Permaculture practitioners up their game (i.e. civil engineering degree).

There are some folks working on developing a near-urban agriculture incubator near an urban waste water treatment plant. Primary digestion is producing CO2 and urban black water contains a huge amount of heat, both of which can support greenhouse systems. Biogas production also fuels machines to support the rest of operations. This is mainstream thinking.

Another example, is collocation of dairies, composting operations, biogas, and greenhouses... also in the Snohomish ag community.

I have been frustrated by the porosity of our post-glacial soils here in Puget Sound. A few hundred miles south, clay. Here sandy, gravelly, loamy silty, but only rare pockets of clay at the surface. Makes me want to get a soil map and find a clay mine! This leaves liners, bentonite or mass hauling of clay soils. All are expensive and fickle. I wonder what this means for broadscale application of permaculture in my ecoregion? It sure does make greywater even more important.

Cheap efficient tank storage?! Here its plastic, or culvert metal. He mentions concrete molds. I have heard about ferrocement, but tried to find a ferrocement builder for a workshop, and couldn't find a single professional (I was hoping for a boat builder.)
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3734
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul Cereghino wrote:
Cheap efficient tank storage?! Here its plastic, or culvert metal.


Where is "here?" Consider adding your location to your profile.
 
Johnny Niamert
Posts: 268
Location: Colo
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was kind of mystified by 7.2 and the advocating of cloud seeding.

How is flying jumbo-jets spraying metals, burning silver iodide soaked coal, or encouraging industrial pollution in any sense of the term "permaculture"?!?

Seriously... Spraying random metals into clouds is about as permaculture as 50,000 chickens raised in a confined metal building is. I was kind of put-off by his 'problem solved' attitude to open this chapter in regards to cloud seeding. His only concern was how to handle 'too much rain'; no questions about long-term effects of meddling with weather. Weather manipulation is often overlooked today when the question of what is causing increased weather severity is posed.


Also, his question as to why Americans don't use more tanks for rainwater is simple. It's illegal, baring certain criteria, in my state. Government knows best, after all.
And those in CA growing rice in the desert have older rights. Therefore I can't use rain that falls on my property to water a plant.


Here are the necessary conditions that 'allow' me to collect rainwater.
1. The property on which the collection takes place is residential property; and
2. The landowner uses a well, or is legally entitled to a well, for the water supply; and
3. The well is permitted for domestic uses according to Section 37-92-602, C.R.S., or Section
37-90-105, C.R.S. (generally, this means the permit number will be five or six digits with
no "-F" suffix at the end); and
4. There is no water supply available in the area from a municipality or water district; and
5. The rainwater is collected only from the roof of a building that is used primarily as a
residence; and
6. The water is used only for those uses that are allowed by, and identified on, the well
permit.
-- (Almost every new well permit is now for household use only, so don't think about watering that flower with it)
http://water.state.co.us/DWRIPub/Documents/DWR_RainwaterFlyer.pdf
 
Janet Dowell
Posts: 32
Location: Kennewick, WA
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm still here - I just really struggle with having the time to post, on top of getting the reading done, on top of everything else I do. (don't mean to whine, though - I know lots of people area busybusybusy).

I enjoyed this chapter. I have really struggled with learning water storage/earth works (which I know are another chapter) on my PC path, so this was a good chapter for me. I agree, Ann, on the Australian toilet. I cringe when I think of how much drinking-quality water gets flushed away every day just for urine. Especially when you consider that I live in a desert - we receive 7" of precip a YEAR - last year we rec'd only 5". However, we have 3 BIG rivers used in irrigation in the area & DEEP (>800') aquifers, so, of course, everyone here has large lawns and we are one of the prime agriculture (BigAg, unfortunately) areas of the country. Why grow food in an area of rain, when you can live in the desert & irrigate & spray? (grrrrrrrrr.......)

Anyway, I did have one small question. On page 154, on the right hand column, second bullet point: "The rainfall effects from forested ridges, where forests exceed 6-10m (19-32 feet) in height, on rainfall induced by streamline compression effects."

What is a "streamline compression effect"? I mean, I can kind of figure it out based upon the text, but I still couldn't explain it to anyone else. Any thoughts?

 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think training our governments to understand water cycling is really important (I did a big post here: http://www.permies.com/t/32445/pdm/Permaculture-Designers-Manual-Chapter-TREES trying to describe the role of interception/evaporation in water rights). It is all tangles in water rights law, which is probably even more brutal in CO than WA. I suspect you can capture and percolate water into the ground with no legal constraints... typically it is when you use the water coming out of the storage for production that the laws kick in.

I'm going to guess on STREAMLINE COMPRESSION that it has to do with the ability of air to hold moisture either 1. as pressure changes?--when pressure decreases temperature drops causing precipitation, 2. under turbulent conditions (where there is a field of high and low pressure air banging around), or 3. maybe he is talking about adiabatic cooling--where air gets cold when it gets pushed up and so cannot hold as much moisture in gas and so precip forms.

On thing that did strike me, as I read about the climate misfortunes of others... His statement that access to water is the #1 consideration for site location above all others.


 
Johnny Niamert
Posts: 268
Location: Colo
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul Cereghino wrote: I suspect you can capture and percolate water into the ground with no legal constraints...


Colorado water law declares that the state of Colorado claims the right to all moisture in the atmosphere that falls within its borders ... As a result, in much of the state, it is illegal to divert rainwater falling on your property expressly for a certain use unless you have a very old water right
http://water.state.co.us/DWRIPub/Documents/DWR_RainwaterFlyer.pdf


The recent modifications to law as of 2009, listed above, is in response to studies that proved most rainwater doesn't even make it into the stream system. Coincidentally (wink wink), the new law set-up fines for people illegally collecting rainwater, as previously it was just a cease and desist order.
I think it would be hard to prove earthworks are 'expressly' for divergence. But rain barrels and tanks would be a fairly open and shut case, especially in today's big brother atmosphere.
 
Stuart Davis
Posts: 18
Location: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
While Mollison does not mention the uses of a Trompe anywhere in this book, it may be worthwhile to bring attention to the Trompe for this chapter. Mollison did talk about the Trompe in some video lectures. This device amazed me as it is a very elegant way to produce compressed air with no moving parts other than the movement of water. There are few that live in areas with sufficient moving water and drop in elevation to use a Trompe, still it is something for a permaculture designer to be aware of.

http://www.permies.com/t/16261/energy/Mollison-Trompe-alternative-energy
http://www.permies.com/t/27878/hydro/water-ramps-trompe-water-air
http://www.motherearthnews.com/renewable-energy/hydro-power-zmaz77jazbon.aspx#axzz2ldWntGtD
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3734
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Stuart Davis wrote:While Mollison does not mention the uses of a Trompe anywhere in this book, it may be worthwhile to bring attention to the Trompe for this chapter.


Au contraire. Check out page 505.
 
Stuart Davis
Posts: 18
Location: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Cj. I stand corrected.
 
Erica Wisner
gardener
Posts: 1183
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
199
books cat dog food preservation hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul Cereghino wrote:Still at it...

I was surprised at the light touch on grey water.
...
This makes me realize how much of systems design ultimately requires a shared culture among people living in settlements, and that the management of water, and manipulation of the water cycle for the benefit of all is truly a community affair. I think it is a huge entry point for permaculture design into the mainstream, but requires that Permaculture practitioners up their game (i.e. civil engineering degree).
...
I have been frustrated by the porosity of our post-glacial soils here in Puget Sound. A few hundred miles south, clay. Here sandy, gravelly, loamy silty, but only rare pockets of clay at the surface. Makes me want to get a soil map and find a clay mine! This leaves liners, bentonite or mass hauling of clay soils. All are expensive and fickle. I wonder what this means for broadscale application of permaculture in my ecoregion? It sure does make greywater even more important.

Cheap efficient tank storage?! Here its plastic, or culvert metal. He mentions concrete molds. I have heard about ferrocement, but tried to find a ferrocement builder for a workshop, and couldn't find a single professional (I was hoping for a boat builder.)


.... Grey water has, as you pointed out, been improving steadily. I'd rather be pointed toward up-to-date info than rely on this comprehensive a book for specific techniques. I also suspect the right uses of greywater will be pretty locally finessed; he points toward the different impacts of salts in arid and humid climates, and there are a fair amount of other points that have to be balanced to do with available and excluded chemicals. We might see more in a section on garden design; I spotted some outdoor-shower-and-recycled-water systems.

Funny how strict surface water rights are, and how wells aren't controlled the same way - there's no assumption nor information to make group decisions about such life-critical things. Just individuals digging deeper and deeper, or ferrying water in containers when their well runs foul. And municipalities duking it out - literally - power plays to divert water this direction or that, based on money, prestige, and the law of posession.

....
Clay is recommended in natural building methods because it is ubiquitous, cheap, and non-toxic in many areas.
If your area has neither clay nor building stone, it probably has silt or loam, and therefore you can grow organic substitutes for almost any building process.

You have a pretty good situation for rainwater, however. I think your potential for reliable storage in a smaller tank (sized to need, not maximum rainfall) is pretty good. The big trick is that Mediterranean dry summer - 4 to 5 month maximum dry spell, but 2 months more typical especially if you are collecting for non-potable water and still using treated water for potable (essential) needs. If you are growing annuals from climates with humid summers, your summer water usage will be way out of synch, and that long dry gap a real problem.
If you are able to cultivate primarily Mediterranean, NW native, and other compatible plants that do their major growth in spring and fall, and be smart about the few water-hogs you do use (greywater etc), you can work around that.

Our hill a couple ranges east of the Cascades has porous soils AND not much rainfall. Less than a tenth of yours - 11 inches/yr in the valley, must be effectively more up here because we have more trees than anywhere but the river bottom - the intermediate slopes are sagebrush.
I'm beginning to think that the burn-pile tradition around here is a mute, unacknowledged rain dance.

And yet there is a natural pond on our place. I don't know if it's a clay pocket from generations of rain that accumulated soil and then evaporated in this little pocket behind our bench, or some weird interaction between soil minerals that makes a white calcium pan somehow water-resistant, or bog algae gley effect, or if there's some kind of bedrock without cracks down there. Probably there's just enough clay in our expansive silt that, with muddy water accumulating here and settling over time, it has a clay pan.

But it fills slowly, has probably been damaged with bulldozers to the point of leaking over the last 20 years or so, and is now a steep-sided, shallow shadow of its former self. Maybe I'll go out and dig some miniature ponds, and see if I can figure out whether I need to use the gley method, or can form pond liner from settled seepage, with the on-site soils.

For our property, the pond is at the low point, with a boggy area across a mid-elevation point.

Looking at the larger landscape, we are a near-ideal ridgeline bench water catchment, above keyline by almost 2000 feet. But we don't hold much, and the in-laws who own the property wouldn't be too interested in sharing anyway. They've lost water to neighbors and fire crews, and also don't like the neighbors treating the pond as public property.

Back to your no-clay situation:
The "gley" ponds description might be useful. 6" of fermented muck - you could probably do very well with rinsed seaweed and algae from those nitrification zones, especially if you can get local consent to stake out an algae growth area near a runoff outfall in fresh or brackish water instead of fully salt, and haul off that material back for lining the pond. If you don't have stock or pigs to run in it, and deposit organic material themselves.
Silty soils and plentiful rain grows organic matter pretty well; shortage of clay is just an inconvenience if you want to use methods developed for a different situation. There's not much point hauling clay farther than you'd have to haul a local organic material. (same is true for cob; I have plenty of folks here interested to learn it, but stonework, timber, and brushy methods like wattle-and-daub seem more suitable than a method for which clay and sand would need to be hauled in from miles away. I will teach cob when there's a site with suitable soils; or in miniature for folks likely to settle elsewhere before they build; but I'm not buying bagged stuff by the ton for an actual building here, and calling it sustainable.)

-Erica
 
Erica Wisner
gardener
Posts: 1183
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
199
books cat dog food preservation hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cj Verde wrote:
Paul Cereghino wrote:
Cheap efficient tank storage?! Here its plastic, or culvert metal.


Where is "here?" Consider adding your location to your profile.



Paul's current profile info indicates a location more specific than the state or city - Google "Puget sound" for the region, within SW Washington State.
"Washington" state is easily confused with DC, or even with the numerous counties and school districts named in honor of our first president, and thus tends to get obscured in the white-out of political noise from our distant namesake.
Some folks at this edge of the continent prefer to avoid any confusion of identity by using ecological (Cascadia, pertaining to the Cascade mountain range) or native (Salish tribes) geographical references instead of current government designations.

-Erica W
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3734
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Erica Wisner wrote:
Paul's current profile info indicates a location more specific than the state or city - Google "Puget sound" for the region, within SW Washington State.


Generally, I don't suggest to input a location if there's one there. He either added it or I missed it somehow. If I have to google the location to figure out what it means then IMO it's too specific, considering we live in the same country.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks CJ -- I DID changed it based on your suggestion... soon everyone will know where lies Cascadia and the Salish Sea (which is an official international place name adopted by both USA and Canada, soon to be as well known as New England...)
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3734
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul Cereghino wrote:Thanks CJ -- I DID changed it based on your suggestion...


Whew. I thought I was loosing my mind for a sec (could still be true).
 
Run away! Run away! Here, take this tiny ad with you:
Complete Wild Edibles Package by Sergei Boutenko (1 HD video + 10 eBooks)
https://permies.com/t/70674/digital-market/digital-market/Complete-Wild-Edibles-Package-Sergei
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!