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Culvert Hydroelectricity/Irrigation Ideas  RSS feed

 
Nick Marlowe
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Hello everyone, I am hoping to get a clear picture of what possibilities of use there are for this spring/creek on my property. This is normally a seasonal creek, however there is a spring that pops up right in the middle of the creek and flows year round. The spring starts around 50 yards east of my property and runs the length of the property which is around 1200 ft. My property line is about 75 yards from the culvert. If I had to take a guess I have around 6-7 feet of drop from the edge of my property to the bottom of the culvert. I would like to use this creek for electricity, irrigation and anything else I can use it for! I was thinking a water wheel and possibly a archimedes screw. Any ideas?
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Mike Jay
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Hi Nick, welcome to Permies!

Just so we understand your situation, the spring is on a neighbor's property.  Once the year round spring water (and seasonal water) reach your property line, you have 6-7 feet of drop to work with over a distance of 1200 feet.  And the culvert is on your land (along with the driveway).

Next question, where does the culvert lead to?  Just from the first picture I assumed it went under your driveway.  But then why is water pouring over the driveway?

Depending on where you live, adjusting a water flow may or may not be an issue for your department of water/natural resources.  Have you checked if you can dam it up or alter it?
 
Nick Marlowe
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Thank you for the reply Jay! And thank you for the welcoming words, its good to finally be here with you guys! To clarify, I have about 6-7ft of drop from my property line where the spring begins to the bottom of the culvert and the culvert is probably 75 yards from that side of the property. If I knew a little bit better how to use this computer I would draw up a map and explain. The water is pouring over the driveway because the culvert is clogged. Its been a while since anyone kept up with the place. I am in county and there are no restrictions to this waterway. From east to west, which is direction of water flow, my property looks like this. Very east side of property is where the spring comes into my property. From property line, it travels approx 75 yards before it gets to my low water bridge. So in this 75 yard span from east side of property to culvert, I would guess there is 6-7ft drop. From culvert to west side of property is about 1200 ft with an unknown drop. Damming is an option. Hope this helps.
 
Mike Jay
Posts: 502
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Yes, that helps a bunch.  So the 6-7 feet of drop is over a 75 yard distance.  If the culvert wasn't plugged the water would just go under your driveway.  From that point it continues another 1000 feet to the far end of your property and it drops an unknown amount over that distance.

That sounds like a pretty decent situation for irrigation.  If you can hold water at the high end of the property you have the potential for distributing it however you want. 

As for electricity, I'm not a hydro expert unfortunately.  Most small systems I've seen are for low flow but high head.  If the unknown drop from the driveway to the far end of the property is significant (>40'?) you may have some micro hydro options.  Personally I'd love to see a small water wheel next to the driveway churning away with a 6' wheel on it.  I'm not sure if that would generate any electricity but it would look cool
 
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