Most farms around Australia are directly responsible for harvesting their own water. For some, it's not really a concern. They have a perennial creek or spring and/or are in high rainfall areas where too much water may be more of a problem! However, here in the Totnes Valley we fall asleep thinking how to harvest more water - and better conserve the water we have. Do we have every bit of roof surface draining into a tank somewhere? Are the gutters overflowing during a heavy rainfall event or are they coping? How often do we have to clean the gutters, and do we do so? Is there anything we can do to reduce the leaf litter in the gutters? Are all the tanks connected into the one system with the ability to isolate each of them and pump to a top one for gravity feed? Do we have a “Plan B” for when the tanks are full? Does all “waste” water from the house become black water or do we use as much as possible as grey water? How water efficient are our showers and toilets? When water falls on the farm, does it run off quickly, or is it slowed down to increase the chance of being absorbed into the soil? What is the water holding capacity of our soils? How vulnerable is our creek to erosion? What can be improved?
So come and listen to what we are doing and join in the discussion with your own suggestions and questions.
The first photo shows the farm creek in flood. The second shows the beginning of an undercut during the flood, which ended up dropping the creek bed overnight by about 1 meter. The third photo shows the opposite extreme - drought with almost nothing growing in the paddocks. We need to even out these extremes with a water harvesting and gentling strategy.