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Watering the permaculture orchard

 
Erik Lee
Posts: 104
Location: Zone 6 - Missouri
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In another thread, Bill Downes pulled a quote from your facebook page about water use: "Yes we have perpetual rights to the water in the lake next door. Was one of the clinchers to buying it in the first place. We pump 60 gallons per minute for 3 hours per day to water 12 acres."

Doing the math (at 6:30 in the morning, so buyer beware!), that comes out to 10,800 gallons per day, or 324,000 gallons per month.

**edit** whoops, math error! I knew I shouldn't be doing this so early in the morning... (in the original version I was calculating inches of water, but used the 324k number as the *daily* not monthly amount)

Okay so that comes out to about an inch of water per month over 12 acres, which sounds very reasonable. Still, can you recommend strategies to reduce water consumption for people who have less water available? Is this watering done whether you get rain or not, or only during dry spells?
 
Rob Read
Posts: 86
Location: Poplar Hill, Ontario (near London) - Zone 6a
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And just to piggy-back on this question: which months of the season is the watering done?
 
Stefan Sobkowiak
permaculture orchardist
Posts: 118
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Erik Lee wrote:In another thread, Bill Downes pulled a quote from your facebook page about water use: "Yes we have perpetual rights to the water in the lake next door. Was one of the clinchers to buying it in the first place. We pump 60 gallons per minute for 3 hours per day to water 12 acres."

Doing the math (at 6:30 in the morning, so buyer beware!), that comes out to 10,800 gallons per day, or 324,000 gallons per month.

**edit** whoops, math error! I knew I shouldn't be doing this so early in the morning... (in the original version I was calculating inches of water, but used the 324k number as the *daily* not monthly amount)

Okay so that comes out to about an inch of water per month over 12 acres, which sounds very reasonable. Still, can you recommend strategies to reduce water consumption for people who have less water available? Is this watering done whether you get rain or not, or only during dry spells?

Wow a math whizz, nice one Eric. We only water half the area at most since the grassy lanes get no water so the trees get 2-3 times more in reality. One inch per week would be optimal.
To reduce water :
1) Study you crop water needs tables (most irrigation suppliers and extension should be able to supply that for your area.
2) get a potentiometer (I think that's the name) that measures available water at different depths in the soil. Fancy ones will hook up to your irrigation controller to only allow the irrigation to go on when the trees need water.
3) at least get a rain click device to stop the irrigation when it's rained.
The more you pay for water the more these tools pay off rapidly. We probably waste water sometimes, and it just goes into the ground water and returns to the lake. We also have the lowest electricity rates in North America so it does not encourage much conservation. I pay $200 per year max to irrigate on electricity.
 
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