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Cheap, Simple DIY Water Catchment and Irrigation

Cheap, Simple DIY Water Catchment and Irrigation

Last year in foothills North Carolina, we had a hundred-year flood in June. Then we went three months without any rain at all. Some things produced well in spite of drought, but tomatoes really suffered and I hardly got any pumpkins. I was not able to keep things adequately watered by hand even before my catchment tank ran dry.

I know that the carbon footprint of tap water is pretty small compared to, say, tropical vacations. But I still have a philosophical problem with paying to have water cleaned so thoroughly that it’s drinkable, and then pumped for miles and miles, only to pour it on the ground. I like the idea of living within the rain budget of my area, which isn’t too hard because we usually get too much. I like the idea of having irrigation water even if I lost access to my local water utility for some reason (power outage, income outage, anything).

Most of all, I like the idea of my garden looking all big and lush like my mom’s. She waters constantly.

So, this spring I added a second catchment tank to our little house, and one to the new pole barn up by the orchard. Big irrigation tanks cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, but I can get a used IBC tank for about $45. I’ve now set up five of these tanks, and I feel it’s a relatively easy and cost-effective option for small-scale irrigation.

This is my Dad’s very nice setup, which I helped him install as a fun Mother’s Day project. Don’t worry, this photo was taken before completion, and the final installation does not include painter’s tape.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

There’s Nothing Heroic About Stealing Water From the Commons

There’s Nothing Heroic About Stealing Water From the Commons

It’s not every day that someone who steals water from the commons for private use on his large estate gains folk hero status in the sustainability movement. But thanks to a few irresponsible members of the alternative press, and a well-earned reputation in several states for having complex rainwater catchment regulations, that’s what happened to Gary Harrington. For over a decade, Harrington diverted massive, river-sized runoff water from snow and rainfall into large reservoirs on his land. That water was part of a watershed, and was supposed to supply the town of Medford, Oregon. When, after repeated attempts to negotiate with him, the state finally prosecuted Harrington, he painted himself as a folk hero and a rebel against government overreach.

The libertarian alternative media, with their connections to the sustainability and self-sufficiency movements, drank the story up like water. They ran pieces saying things like “a rural Oregon man was slapped with fines for collecting rain water on his own property”; referred to the “simple act of collecting rainwater on his own property,” and lamented that, in this era of government control, we aren’t even allowed to collect rainwater for personal use. The articles sounded alarmist, sanctimonious tones about self-sufficiency and the dangers of Big Brother, how it’s now illegal to collect rainwater on your own property, how the government claims to own even the rain.

None of them were remotely true. As the Oregon Water Resources Department stated in a press release dated July 29, 2012, and reprinted at Snopes.com, it’s perfectly legal in Oregon to collect rainwater for personal use. You can collect it in barrels or tarps or off your own roof. What you can’t do is alter or collect from flowing bodies of water.

– See more at: http://www.occupy.com/article/there’s-nothing-heroic-about-stealing-water-commons#sthash.v9NIgGmF.dpuf

 

 

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