Water Conservation and Grey Water Recycling at Three Rivers Community Farm
Editor’s summary: Cloud hired a consultant to design a water catchment and wash water recycling system in July of 2007. After doing a site survey, taking measurements, etc. in July, Cloud did not hear back from the consultant for several months then learned that the company went out of business. In late December, the consultant sent a very basic design which Cloud felt was not worth the money paid for it.
From Amy Cloud progress report:
Since then, I have been using my own resources and partnering with one faculty [member] from Principia College to augment and expand [the consultant’s] design. We’ve decided on a plan that will work for our farm. Starting in April (2008) we will implement this design.
This business of water conservation and transportation can be as low tech or high tech as you want. We are trying to find middle ground between the two approaches. We are trying to look far enough in the future and base our cistern purchases on possible growth: as our farm grows, as we grow more produce, then our water needs will increase as well. At the same time we don’t want the cost to get out of hand.
We’ve also learned the valuable lesson of screening individuals and companies. I should have investigated [the consulting firm] more thoroughly and not solely relied on the testimony of a previous SARE recipient.
WORK PLAN FOR 2008
Starting in April we will begin building our wash station. We have already started sourcing material and labor for this project. We will also attach a gutter system to the existing barn for rain-water catchment. The wash station and gutters should be functioning by January 1st.
So far, I shared information about our SARE grant at a University of Illinois field day in mid-August of last year. There were over 55 participants that day who heard our vision for the project.
In this upcoming year, the Principia College Biology Department will be bringing out a few of their classes for on-site demonstrations. And a Washington University Biology Professor has contacted me about bringing out a class. The project also will gain exposure through our website, where one page will be devoted to the project (probably posted by June) and through our farm newsletters. Finally, Jennifer Russell, our extension agent, has hinted that she would like us to do another field day with University of Illinois this summer to highlight the project and the farm in general.