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Mini spring from swales?

 
Posts: 187
Location: Southeastern Connecticut, USA
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I'm wondering if I can get a spring going over 300 feet with a 10% grade using hand dug swales?

The upper 200 feet are 2 flat properties, (not mine) that are each terraced and are a mix of lawn, pavement, houses. My property has a 10% pitch and I am thinking of building 2 or 3 small rainwater catchment ponds. (using the 3 downspouts from the gutters on my house)

I'd love to have a continually flowing spring, for dry periods in the summer.

Over how many feet are Sepps terraces? I would have to add a clay berm (with an hugel) at the bottom.

I live in the suburbs. At the very end of my sloping property is a pond/river that flows over an old mill dam 60 feet downstream.

So I'll be doing the pigs work if I can make the 3 ponds natural ponds.

My goal of this water collection is to have:
-a biointensive/permie garden
-a hoop house to extend the growing season
- stabilize the pond shoreline somewhat so it has some resiliency to flooding, without destroying natural habitat.
- not cause any flooding in my basement (which is at the high point of my propert, but below the road at the walkout basement) or my neighbors garage shop ( which sits only a few feet higher than the river.
 
pollinator
Posts: 304
Location: Montana
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Whenever you look at a landscape it's important to consider where it is in the greater landscape, like overhead areal scale. Google earth and Sketchup are both tremendous resources for gaining this kind of understanding of a landscape. Without knowing where it is in the greater landscape there is no way to make an educated guess as to if a spring like Sepp's is possible.

This type of spring technique is going to for most intents and purposes not be practical to do by hand. One big thing at play is that the water needs to have gone through enough of the earth body to be properly mineralized and energized. This also filters out potential surface toxins. In most cases I wouldn't want surface runoff collected in swales to be my primary drinking water. Casing a surface spring is certainly doable by hand, but this terrace spring is too deep to dig by hand. The trench ranged from 10' - 20' deep, and 200' or so long. Then there is the pipe leading to the cistern, and the 10' deep hole for the cistern. I suppose it's doable by hand, but your looking at years for the project as opposed to days. I think if you ever looked back on it you would conclude that $2,000 for an excavator to do all of the work is money well spent.

I'm a big fan of rain gardens, I think every house should have it's gutters feeding into a rain garden. What I would really love to start seeing is rain gutter hugelkulturs, basically a water retention space surrounded by hugelkultur so that the water wicks into the beds. This would produce a garden that would require no watering in most climates around the world. I hope to put in a ton of these this year. Granted this is a VERY quick and dirty illustration, but bear with me:



The water retention would be sized for the climate, to store enough rainfall for the dry season. In the spring the surplus water would saturate the wood in the hugelkultur, providing moisture reserves for the dry season.
 
Bill McGee
Posts: 187
Location: Southeastern Connecticut, USA
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Thanks for the rain garden-hugel idea. I'll look into this. I like the simplicity of this.

We don't have a lot of downed wood, but do have lots of wood chips.

I'd be interested in following any rain garden projects you do. I'll post my efforts at a rain garden with hugels and overflows this spring
 
Posts: 95
Location: Seattle, WA
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What do you use to stabilze the base/floor of the overflow in this design? There's been odd erosion issues with some rain gardens I've seen.

 
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This type of spring technique is going to for most intents and purposes not be practical to do by hand. One big thing at play is that the water needs to have gone through enough of the earth body to be properly mineralized and energized. This also filters out potential surface toxins.



With the terrace spring about how far was it from the top terrace down to the spring outlet? You mentioned a trench was 200', was that the length of the trench in which the pipe was laid? Thanks!
 
Zach Weiss
pollinator
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Location: Montana
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Lacia Lynne Bailey wrote:What do you use to stabilze the base/floor of the overflow in this design?



Whenever possible it is always best to run the spillway over undisturbed ground. Water does a much better job of settling the material than we can. If this is not an option then rock and gravel of varying size, with some sand, so that it all ties together. Larger flag stones are great stabilizers so long as the gaps are offset, so that the water doesn't have a clear path through the spillway.

Ryan Workman wrote:With the terrace spring about how far was it from the top terrace down to the spring outlet? You mentioned a trench was 200', was that the length of the trench in which the pipe was laid?



It's around 70 meters (230 feet) from the top terrace to where the spring feeds into the cistern. The 200' trench runs perpendicular to that, along the length of the bottom terrace. It collects the water towards the middle of the terrace and then connects with a T to solid pipe that feeds into the cistern.
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