In May 2018 I was invited to work in Western Australia, which was quite the milestone for me, as it was the last state in Australia for me to say I’ve worked nation wide in permaculture design and installation. It was meant to be a short trip, only 5 days, to repair a leaky dam, which seemed a bit odd for me to fly from the east coast to the west coast for this, but as this is my only source of income I jumped at the chance.
So, I flew over, hired the excavator and proceeded in the dam repair.
Before and After
While I was doing the job, my client asked what could be done in the section below the dam, I recommended a constructed wetlands based on Peter Andrews system of creating a chain of ponds in water courses, but this was a little different as it was down the side of a ridge and not in the natural water course.
To be truthful I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. To complicate things more, when I did some test holes for the ponds there was no clay, and the spillways would be on the walls of the ponds, something I’ve never done and something we teach never to do when talking about permaculture earthworks construction, (we never place spillways on un-original ground). Meaning, spillways should always be on original ground as they are stable and ideally covered in vegetation .
There was a lot of iron stone rock which I think was pushed out of a large dam situated above the dam I was working on, so I thought I could use this material to place on the spillways. There was also an earth berm created from the larger dam construction to steer the over flow down the side of the ridge which was clay. So, in the end I had the makings of the system on site.
As always there’s a first for everything and this was my first try at creating a chain of ponds or constructed wetland.
Below are a Series of Photos of the Construction Process
The all important seeding mulching and planting going on
I will be running a 5 day Permaculture Earthworks course in Portugal on the 3rd of June, please click the link below for more information.