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Water Quality, Water Quantity

April 17, 2012

We have a little different operation than many, but with it a keen eye towards water issues for a very big reason.

On the back side of the property is a drainage ditch, which starts further ‘above’ us and runs to a drainage system that goes into creeks. This means manure runoff is something we’re pretty picky on.

To start with, keeping our animals on the higher end keeps them from being waterlogged, and although there is some ‘erosion’ when torrential rains put a creek in the front and back yards, we’ve controlled it with composting, manure removal, the raised beds and not allowing it to wash off onto the slope that empties into the ditch.

This area had been an outdoor area for the hoop birds, but increasingly became harder to get dried out after heavy rains. We’ll improvise and use that – with an E that ‘traps’ some of that water, distributing it into the raised area. As fertility increases this acts like a sponge, hanging onto that water longer. The plants that will be here then need less irrigation.

We’d like to reuse greywater for irrigation of the raised beds, but so far that hasn’t happened. We do attempt to capture rainwater for watering animals, a project that is increasing slowly. Because we must buy water from a grid system, we try to keep a close eye on what we use.

Connor has a hard time with this – water is taken for granted but we’re constantly reminding him and ourselves to be miserly. When a water bowl needs cleaned, the ‘dirty’ water goes to the plants. Fresh water for the animals is essential, of course. But we can minimize that half gallon here and there.

We’ve attempted to slow the water, reducing runoff. There is a ‘trough’ in one spot that has ultra rich ‘topsoil’ from this effort. Water is critical for the animals, the raised gardens and us.

 

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