Back from the drought with a vengeance, over 300 ml of rain has fallen on Zaytuna Farm, and Geoff is taking us on a rough-cut ramble tour of some of the property’s water systems. Water flows on Zaytuna Farm come from the west, moving east to join a creek flowing south. Some dams are linked to swales, some aren’t and have their own spillways. Either way, each water catchment feeds into another system downhill, and swivel pipes have been installed throughout the water systems to control water levels so that swales can function both as water harvesting systems and flood mitigation.
The tour starts at the top swale on the property, a wide 400-meter run, where Geoff releases water from it via (1) swivel pipe. This swale now feeds down to a little key point dam, “plug in the hole”, which overflows at a conventional spillway to fill another dam that backs up into (and is feed by) a swale. He turns this (2) swivel pipe and allows the water to move on down the landscape into another dam that feeds into another dam where another (3) swivel pipe allows the top of this water to feed into a system further down into the mid-slopes.
These mid-slope swales are full, so another (4) swivel pipe allows water into swales downslope, which are full as well, steadily meandering over a level sill, so the water level can be brought down with a—you guessed it—(5) swivel pipe. This time we’ve fed into a large swale with two swivel pipes (6 & 7) that discharge into a new swale, built in the earthworks course last year and experiencing its first water ever. And, this swale has a pipe, not yet equipped with a swivel, that empties into a lotus paddy with ducks. The lotus (or rice) paddy also has a (8) swivel pipe that sets its water level and fills the chinampas before the water finally moves onto the bottom dam. The drought is over, and the ensuing flood has been mitigated.
To learn more about permaculture watch Geoff’s Permaculture Masterclass, a 4-part documentary-style film, here: https://www.discoverpermaculture.com/a/12454/e3i2ci3L.
To learn more about Permaculture Earthworks, Geoff has three courses coming up in 2020: