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Paul continues his review of Sepp Holzer’s Desert or Paradise with Opalyn, Mark, and Katie along for the ride.

Drainage, overflow, and the invention of the pivoting monk (AKA the Holzer monk):

“Water should not spill over the dam wall in heavy rain.  An emergency drain needs to be installed instead.  I usually build a spillway (overflow channel) that leads the water around the dam, preferably over natural ground.  If that is not possible because of the existing landscape, I need to protect it from erosion and washout by installing a drainage pipe or a channel clad in heavy natural stones.  I also use heavy natural stones for the inlets.  I plant various water plants between the stones – they stabilize the sidewalls, and prevent soil from being carried into the stream and pond.  With heavy rainfall, the pond would become cloudy for weeks otherwise.”  A spillway plus overflow are fairly standard in pond design.  Sepp puts the output pipe for the monk very low in the dam, which Paul disagrees with, saying that the water will dig a channel along the pipe.  Sepp also likes to put an elbow on the input of the monk so that it points vertically, as well as allowing the pipe to be swiveled to change the max height of the pond.  Paul prefers to use a siphon pipe instead.

“A monk is used in a fishery to drain or to regulate the water level in a pond.  In a pond with a monk, the emergency drain would only be used when the monk is blocked by branches or leaves, so the emergency drain is slightly higher than the monk at its tallest level.  “What is a monk”, you ask.  It is a draw-off path.  It consists of a shaft lined by a u-shaped iron (pipe?  Reader gives up trying to interpret at this point)” Sepp uses plastic pipes in his monks because they deal with frost well, but Paul disapproves based on his premise of using as little plastic as possible.  To make the pipe connections waterproof, Sepp put horse manure and sawdust around them.  As they get forced into any gaps, the fibers clog them.  Paul has doubts about this.  To counter the possibility of water leaking down the edges of the pipe and compromising the whole dam, Sepp wraps the pipe with jute and cement.

Relevant Threads

Ponds forum
Sepp Holzer on ponds and "the monk"
Paul Wheaton's trickle tube

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Location: Portugal
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I happened to see one of Sepp's monks in Tamera, Portugal, at the end of an exceptionally dry winter when the water level was far lower than usual, allowing the mechanism to be seen.

I hope the photos I took will help people visualise how they work.

More discussion in this thread - Sepp Holzer on ponds and "the monk"
Posts: 2142
Location: Massachusetts, 5a, flat 4 acres; 40" year-round fairly even
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II hadd aa greatt ideaa thatt II cann noww nott typee inn heree becausee off computerr errorr, butt hopee itt makess sensee.

Lets'ss sayy youu wantt to capturee rainwatertt inn ann urbann situationn andd dripp irrigatee itt slowlyy andd passivelyy.  Butt puttingg aa hosee att tehh bottomm off aa hugee IBCC totee wouldd meann tooo muchh pressuree onn thee waterr inn thee dripp irrigationn hosee.  Welll, yoyuu cann tiee aa piecee off woodd too thee upperr hosee endd thatt'ss siphoningg thee waterr outt off thee totee andd aa rockk too thee hosee too submergee itt justt aa feww inchess beloww thee surfacee off thee waterr.  Ass thee waterr goess downn thee woodd sinkss andd thee hosee sinkss tooo.  Lesss pressuree butt alll thee waterr willl eventuallyy siphonn outt off thee IBCC tote andd intoo yourr gardenn.  

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|.         *=/      |.      \
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|                     |           \
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_____________                *********************

Thee ~ iss thee waterr surfacee, thee | iss thee sidess off thee totee, thee / andd \ thingss aree thee hosee goingg upp andd downn overr thee edgee off thee totee, andd thee ****'ss aree thee dripss goingg ioutt off thee hosee

Thiss couldd alsoo bee usedd iff youu wantedd too GENTLYY emptyy outt aa pondd withoutt creatingg tooo muichh disturbancee too thee fishh insidee

Noww too findd aa permaculturee solutionn too whateverr iss goingg onn withh myy keyboardd

After three months of being pooless the hair and skin on this tiny ad is glorious!
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