Win a copy of Grocery Story this week in the City Repair forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
stewards:
  • Mike Jay
  • paul wheaton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • James Freyr
  • Greg Martin
  • Dave Burton
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Dan Boone

Legality of Swales

 
Posts: 254
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
17
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am fascinated by this subject of greening the desert. I have read through the forums and watched a lot of videos. Amazing stuff.

I keep coming back to one question. It was my understanding that in most of the western United States due to water rights issues, the impeding or impounding of water is illegal in most cases. Are swales not considered impeding at least? I would love to implement these techniques in a coulee in Eastern Washington State. However, I fear a visit from the local and state Gestapo as soon as the first green appear.

How do swales fit into the North American desert model? How does one do it legally?
 
Posts: 3370
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
37
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mark Shepard has the PC terminology.

They are erosion control devices, but I don't remember the exact phrase.
 
gardener
Posts: 787
Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
40
dog forest garden books urban chicken bike
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In Paul's world domination video he talks about how there are certain height requirements of a dam or earth work before it is recognized by departments of sadness. It might depend on your city and state, but my understanding was that if your just under the height limit than all you have is simple landscaping, not technically a dam. Since there are no official guidelines for landscaping, no one has the legal right to tell you how to do it.
 
pollinator
Posts: 684
Location: Richmond, Utah
32
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In Utah, the water that falls on your land is yours and the water that flows across your land belongs to the state.
 
pollinator
Posts: 517
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Bill Bradbury wrote:In Utah, the water that falls on your land is yours and the water that flows across your land belongs to the state.



...but you are severely limited as to the size of storage you are allowed, so the water that falls on your land is only partly yours. So far, restrictions have been limited to impoundment structures (ponds, reservoirs, tanks, etc.). Increasing the storage capacity of your soil has not yet been deemed illegal, but if a lot of folks do it, I am sure some enterprising water lawyer would pursue restrictions.
 
Posts: 724
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
21
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

R Scott wrote:Mark Shepard has the PC terminology.

They are erosion control devices, but I don't remember the exact phrase.



basically this ^^^

if someone from the govt is giving you grief, you are simply talking to the wrong dept.

go across the hall and you may find that department will give you money to do what you are wanting to do

get on NRCS website and start learning how to name your improvements
 
steward
Posts: 7926
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
313
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When I was looking at some fairly steep land (in WA), I came up with the idea of digging multiple swales along contour.
Obviously, you cannot do this when the soil is wet, so it must be done before the rainy season.

These were not swales.
They were where I planned to plant my potatoes, using the soil from the berm to cover the pants as they grew.
They would act as errosion control. Not water hoarding, just good agricultural practices.
(You may wish to fill them with compost, or other water retentive organic matter while you wait for spring.)
If, in the spring time, I changed my mind, and planted my potatoes elsewhere, so-be-it.

Generally, the water cops only investigate if there has been a complaint.
If you have the only green land in the region, some neighbors are bound to make a complaint.

WA state is fairly easy going about rainwater catchment compared to most other western states.
You are allowed to catch every drop that falls on any structure on your property - firewood shed, chicken coop, etc.
(A 10' x 16' chicken coop will capture 100 gallons for each inch of rain - no sense carrying buckets of water to your hens.)
About the only restriction is that you may not make a structure solely for catching water, so put that roof to some utilitarian use.
 
Jack Edmondson
Posts: 254
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you all for your responses. That clears things up and gives me some peace of mind.
 
They weren't very bright, but they were very, very big. Ad contrast:
I'm going to build a sauna trailer and document the entire process in video and ebook form!
https://permies.com/t/121209/build-sauna-trailer-document-entire
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!