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Need some help/advice on water, pumping, etc :)

 
Posts: 59
Location: Portugal
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Hi!,

I'm trying to wrap my head around a water issue, and thought that might be good to ask for advice from more experienced folks.

My property has a water well that was used for irrigation some years ago. At peak summer(right now), the water level is at around 4m deep.
We want to use this water (if possible), for irrigation of our vegetable garden AND to provide water for our future dwelling.

My plan right now is more or less like this:
- have a surface pump with a 80L pressure tank (not sure whats the name in english but its this thing that prevents the pump from starting and stopping everytime someone opens a faucet)
- fork the pipe, one side to feed 3-4 faucets spread around the property (max 50-60m distance), and the other for the house (40m distance)
- for irrigation, I plan to have a 1000L water tank on top of a small platform so that I can fill it up once, and then irrigate using gravity, instead of using the pump
- for the house, it would connect directly to the water pump tank

the reason why I dont want a separate water tank for the house is that in this summer weather it would heat up a lot and I would have hot water all the time (I think!). So my plan was to bury the pipes enough so that the water coming to the house was kept cool (and also free from frost during winter)

The faucets would be used to connect hoses for watering, or if needed, sprinklers. But I'm not sure about this yet

I made a small diagram of the plan, to make it simpler to grasp :)


Is this viable? Am I making some major mistake? Any advice you can give me?

thanks in advance!
 
pollinator
Posts: 177
Location: Golden Valley, AZ 86413
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I have some questions for you:

What will be your energy source for pumping from your well to the water tank storage? Is renewable energy an option? Either wind or solar energy systems would require some sort of a battery system for times of no wind or no sunlight.

The conventional solution is chemical batteries or some sort of grid-tied system. However, I suggest that you employ a substantially larger water storage tank at your highest point and another, smaller tank located at least 20 feet (or more) lower, to be connected with a pipe that supplies a micro-hydro generator that can be used as an additional source of RE power at night. Wind and solar energy must be used as it is produced. By calculating your 24-hour power needs, it should be possible to size a pumped water energy storage system that would harness your excess solar and wind power to pump water to your high storage tank. Then, anytime you run water, either for irrigation or domestic use, you will have the option of generating electricity as needed. If you don't need to use the water immediately, you can store the outflow of your hydro-generator in the lower tank, to be pumped to the higher tank anytime you have an excess of R.E. power from either wind or solar.

Pumped water energy storage is clean and expandable. A well-insulated storage tank can be kept from freezing using electrical heating, which many wind power systems are designed to use as another means of dumping excess power.

Pumped water storage is being considered for use at the Hoover Dam as a means of increasing the amount of water held by Lake Mead in times of drought. The technology is well developed.

 
Nuno Donato
Posts: 59
Location: Portugal
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Hi Mark!

My land is pretty much flat, so I dont think its viable to have 2 tanks connected to generate power via micro-hydro. But I've never researched that, so maybe I'm wrong

To answer your first question, it will be offgrid. around 1200w solar panels, 460Ah batteries and a 5kw inverter. Should be fine for the pump. I also dont plan to use it at night anyway.
 
Mark Kissinger
pollinator
Posts: 177
Location: Golden Valley, AZ 86413
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It's a bit of extra work, but the lower tank can be buried to get a little extra head for the micro-hydro system. It does help to have a bigger difference in elevation, but varying the diameter of the Comstock can provide some of the water pressure needed. The energy to pump the water to a larger high tank is "free" from the RE energy sources. Your well can also be used to store the water if the aquifer can absorb the outflow from the Micro-hydro generator. The key is to conduct a detailed analysis of your water and power needs, to see if such a combination can be balanced to achieve a synergy.
 
Nuno Donato
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Location: Portugal
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I dunno, sounds a lot of work/headache for some meager watts... when power is not even my issue maybe a fun side-project for the future, though
 
Mark Kissinger
pollinator
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Location: Golden Valley, AZ 86413
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As to your solar power system, it is a near match for my system, which I have mounted on a 16' trailer to tow behind my RV.

My biggest mistake was to undersize my battery banks, which do not have the capacity to keep my 5kW inverter running all night. It is possible that I don't have it set up correctly. I'm running at 24 volts, but my RV has a 12 volt DC system. I think I'm losing a lot of power converting to 120vac and then back to 12vdc. The other problem I have is that my refrigerator draws over 3.5 amps of 120 vac power, and doesn't run on propane of DC anymore. (it's an old RV). The cost of a larger-capacity battery bank is about the same as for a pumped water system, I think. Math not being my primary language, I may have miscalculated... LOL!

Good luck with all your endeavors.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2385
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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For irrigation I like to focus on earthworks 1st.

So every 15ft(3m) I would dig a ditch/swale, you can then flood them once a week or place drip irrigation in them.
Next I would get as much carbon in the soil, so mushroom growing on straw (oyster) or woodchip(wine cap).
But really any mushroom is fine, they don't have to be edible, also biochar too.
Try and get 90% of the soil covered with nitrogen fixers. More nitrogen less water is needed
Plant seeds and then graft, this way the fruiting trees will have a taproot.

I would also do 4 of those tanks, also keep them clean enough so that in case of emergency I would feel okay drinking from them, worse case I just drop some iodine tabs.


For your house water system your setup sounds good.

I would also try and grow most of the vegetables as close to the house as possible.
You could also do some aquaponics and grow greens+Fish+fertilizing water for your other plants

With your daily production of 6kWHr (4hrs*1.5kW panels). A 5kW inverter sounds perfect.
You will also need a battery that can store 6kWHr of usable power, so with a 50% dept of discharge 12kWHr of battery.
I like LiFePO4 batteries because I can do 90% depth of discharge and the batteries last 15-20yrs with a cost of 400USD per kWHr.



 
Nuno Donato
Posts: 59
Location: Portugal
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the land is quite flat so I dont have much slope to work with swales. But, I will still do some, especially for zone 4 (not pictured in my diagram). Mulching will obviously be intensive

Here in Portugal we have an average of 7-8hrs of sun (in summer almost 12hrs), so thats plenty of power, which I plan to use during the day directly from the panels. Night consumption is very very low. So during the day I'll fill the tanks, use dishwasher and washing machine, etc. At night is just lights and an occasional short use of the pump.
 
Mark Kissinger
pollinator
Posts: 177
Location: Golden Valley, AZ 86413
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On flat land, the slightest depression in will "plant" the rainfall and collect this "free" resource. The idea is to create areas that will collect the rainwater, around which you can plant perennials. A "lumpy" terrain will collect your rainwater resource reliably, and will also help to direct any irrigation to where it is needed. Well-water tends to have more dissolved salts than rainwater.

Combining this with careful selection of plant species can save you a lot of effort in the long run. It is fairly easy to calculate the amount of rainwater that you can spread and sink into the ground, where it is most efficiently stored for good access to your vegetation.

Please consider Brad Landcaster's series of books on rainwater harvesting: https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/  There are also numerous videos available on YouTube which demonstrate the use of this wonderful technique.

Good luck with all of your endeavors.
 
Posts: 341
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
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It may be more efficient to use a submersible pump, other than that, your proposal looks fine.

I wouldn't worry about the tank heating up, though more likely the pipe work will, so may need to position it away from the sun.
 
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