Friday, April 10, 2015

Rain and Water

 We needed some rain. There is no running creek on Opportunity Farm so we are dependent on rain.

It has been a fantastic summer with a great mix of sun and showers to make everything grow. No bushfire threat and an abundance of food that just seemed to grow itself without watering. Then for the past few weeks it has been dry. The grass finally started to die off and the paddocks turned brown. The dams started to recede and the house tank started to run low.

The tank that collects water from the roof of the farmhouse is small. It has a pump attached that sends the water up the line to two large tanks at the highest point of the property. If it really buckets down the pump needs to used often to prevent the water overflowing and running off down the driveway. If it rains heavily when we are not at home then much of the valuable water is lost. The house tank is connected to another larger tank on the back of a shed but they are at similar heights so they can equalise but transfer is slow. The shed tank has abundant leaks so if there is lots of rain then again much is lost.

Earlier this summer there was taint in the water. Standing in the shower you could smell something was not right. Several investigations later the source was located -  a branch had fallen and pierced the roof of one of the header tanks and two possums had taken the effort to crawl in and drown. We had to let that tank of water go! The efforts to clean out the tank of its incumbent maggots was the subject of an earlier post but it is enough to say that we were glad when it was over.

So we didn't have much left when the dry weather came. With seven people and numerous other animals using the water our consumption is high. One morning the tap was on and nothing came out. Luckily the house tank was half full and with a regime of water frugality we made it through. Three days ago it rained - all day. Some neighbours measured 120mm in two days. The water in the house tank was pumped up several times and water restrictions were off. Until it gets dry again.

We have put in three dams since we came to Opportunity Farm. This increases the amount of water available for stock. Water from one of these dams can be pumped up to provide water for the garden as well as being an emergency firefighting supply. All these changes take time but help to make the place more efficient and more resilient. One thing that you can't do without is water and you can't have water without rain.

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