Water Catchment Project

Spring 2015 update!

The structure is in place ready to go.  Now we just need to install the gutters, put the tanks in place, connect up the piping and the final step to connect the water down the hill to the demonstration gardens.

Water collection structure in place. (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
Water collection structure in place.
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

Water tanks sit next to the collection shed waiting to be installed. (Courtesy of Phil Wyde)

Water tanks sit next to the collection shed waiting to be installed.
(Courtesy of Phil Wyde)

 

Summer 2014 update!

If someone asked you what Venice, Italy and our nature center have in common, it might produce some head scratching.  Did you know that Venice, even though it’s surrounded by water, had no source of fresh water?

Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink! (Courtesy of Rhonda Spray)
Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink!
(Courtesy of Rhonda Spray)

In the ninth century, Venetians devised a clever water catchment system that collected and filtered rain water being using the many town squares.  The rain was funnelled thru stone grates into clay holding tanks filled with limestone which served to filter out debris.  Then, using carefully slopped piping and gravity, water flowed in to the artfully designed “wells” in the center of the square for use by the citizens.  This was their primary source of fresh water for almost a thousand years.

Well, we have the same problem and we’re going to use the same design principles those Venetians used back in the ninth century!  The diagram below is from the installation at the fish hatchery installation at Inks Lake.  Fortunately for us, some of the same smart folks who did this design are helping us with the installation at the nature center.

Basic design of a water catchment system. (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
Basic design of a water catchment system.
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

Where the Venetians used stone grates, we will use gutters carefully angled to funnel the water into our storage tanks.  Like the Venetians, we had to devise a way to filter out debris using screens and a clever “first flush” design.   And like the Venetians, we are going to rely on gravity to move the water where it is needed.

In the spring, the site was cleared for the rain water collection tank, collection troughs, and pipes.  It will provide water to the demonstration gardens, such as the butterfly waystation, as well to other stations along the nature center trails.  The team from RPR was very helpful in clearing and levelling the site.  Now it’s time for the volunteers to take on the next steps of designing and building the structure, installing pipes and fittings, the tank and the gravity feeds….  and then hope for rain.

Site for rain water collection (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
Site for rain water collection – Spring 2014
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

Now it’s on the fun part, assembling all the pieces.  Good thing the team has a sheltered space within which to work.  It’s hot out there!

Discussing the design. (Courtesy of Phil Wyde)
Discussing the design. (Bob, Jerry, George, Mike and Karyn)
(Courtesy of Phil Wyde)
Cutting and checking the fit of the pipes. (Courtesy of Phil Wyde)
Cutting and checking the fit of the pipes. (George, Jerry and guess who!)
(Courtesy of Phil Wyde)

Using a gravity feed requires careful thought of where to lay the pipes.  The team walked the hillside to plan the path to the demonstration gardens at the base of nature hill and the entrance to the nature center.

Braving the chiggers to plot the path for the pipes (Jerry, George and Mike) (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
What, us worry about chiggers? (Jerry, George and Mike)
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

Clearing the site so that the posts can be installed.

Dick Eaton takes on the latest spurt of weeds. (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
Dick takes on the latest spurt of weeds.  Man, that guy is fast with a weed whacker!
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)
Mike Parked armed to tackle the tough roots and weeds.  (Courtesy of Paula Richards)
Mike armed and dangerous – ready to tackle the tough roots and weeds.
(Courtesy of Paula Richards)

Everything is coming together, thanks to a lot of hard work and good planning.  Soon we’ll be installing all the parts on location.  Next step, drilling holes for the poles and getting them firmly seated.   Stay tuned!!

Orange paint marks the spot for the post holes. (Courtesy of Jerry Stacy)
Orange paint marks the spot for the post holes.
(Courtesy of Jerry Stacy)

Thanks to our many wonderful volunteers:  George Brugnoli, Dick Eaton, Karyn Parker, Mike Parker, Jerry Stacy, Bob Whaley, Phil Wyde, and of course Vol’s team from RPR, always willing to help with the heavy lifting, drilling, dirt moving, etc.

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