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High Water Table

 
Sarah May
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Hello Everyone,

I know very little about hydrology and I was hoping someone could shed some light on this subject. We have a high water table (the whole south end of our two acres is saturated half the year), if a small pond was dug would the water in the area around the pond drain to this area making the land drier?

Thanks for you input in advance.
 
Sarah May
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My property slopes southerly to a 4' wide creek and a 30'x10' pond that is fed underground (we believe partially from the creek underground and partially from run off and underground water). We have a good 1/2 acre of clear land just uphill from the creek and pond that is currently unusable due to its saturation. It would be ideal land to use for gardens and livestock if it wasn't for the high water content. Our best solution we could come up with was to dig a couple small shallow ponds for ducks and possibly pigs on the far east end. We were hoping this would drain some of the land that we could use for food crops.
 
John Elliott
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Sarah May wrote: if a small pond was dug would the water in the area around the pond drain to this area making the land drier?


Welcome to Permies, Sarah! That is the general idea when digging drainage ditches and ponds -- provide a low place for the water to collect. How much higher is the half acre from the creek? And why is it not draining now? Is there a lot of clay in the soil that is impeding the flow? Can you dig a trench that goes from the half acre you want to drain better down to the creek?
 
Sarah May
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Thanks for the reply. The half acre barely higher that that of the creek bank. We have a high clay content in our soil as well. We were thinking of trenching the two underground streams. The other idea was that on the easterly stream we would dig a small pond at the north end for ducks or pigs. The other idea we had was to just try and grow rice on the land and build a series of rice patties.

The sketch is orientated with north roughly at the top. The house sits on higher ground but there is a walkout on the addition at the southern most end that is barely higher than the field. The slope is very gradual from the back of the house to the creek.
property sketch.jpg
[Thumbnail for property sketch.jpg]
 
John Elliott
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Another thing that may help in drying out the land, if it is fairly open, is to plant some water hogging trees that will transpire a lot of that water from down below up into the air. Willow and bald cypress are two possibilities if you want to go this route.

And the idea of having a rice paddy could also work. Another paddy plant that would work well is taro. Often taro is thought of as a tropical plant, but in temperate climates with winter freezes (like here in the Deep South) it will come back from the underground corms in the spring.

Learning to live with plants like these is probably going to be less effort than trying to dry out the land by digging ditches and creating better drainage.
 
Sarah May
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That might help as well. We are quite a bit north in central Ontario. Willows grow here in abundance around the creek. We do love willows and wouldn't mind some more around the house. We are limited by our 2 acres so anything we can utilize as food source is always a bonus so we keep coming back to rice patties.
 
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