Rainwater Capture and Reuse Using Gravity and Solar Power
Redirecting and capturing rainwater to supply a pond, which in turn will supply two grazing paddocks using a solar powered pumping system.
This project will address numerous problems:
Problem: Runoff rain that comes from our barn roof falls into the alleyway and pen areas of our pipe corral. We work in this area daily plus we have the brooder pen for our chicks, a shelter area for the sheep and the working area for the cattle located here. This makes for sloppy/muddy working conditions for us, less than ideal living conditions for the livestock, and leads to erosion of this area as well.
Solution: By extending our barn roof past the edge of the pipe coral, installing guttering and channeling the water via piping to our farm pond, we will eliminate excess water coming into this area. The rainwater will become an asset to the farm operation rather than a liability.
Problem: even with the above average rainfall of the last two years, our pond is often low when demand is highest. In 2006, it reached an all-time low level of two feet, which had an adverse impact our farming operation as well as on the pond’s fish and wildlife.
Solution: Rainwater collected from the barn roof will be piped to the pond using gravity flow, supplementing the pond’s natural drainage area.
Problem: Two paddocks (each six acres) used in our grazing rotational system have no water and no power available.
Solution: Installation of a solar powered pumping system from the pond will allow us to install water in both paddocks allowing us to fully incorporate these paddocks into our grazing system.
In addition to increasing the value of these two paddocks to our operation, the solar powered watering system would reduce power usage and demand on our well that would otherwise be required to serve the cattle’s water needs in other paddocks with water and power access.
Problem: During the past two years, southwest Missouri has experienced two severe ice storms resulting in periods without electricity of up to two weeks for many in the area.
Solution: A solar powered pumping system would not be affected by such service interruption and would allow us to use the paddocks in question.
Problem: During times of drought, forage can be dramatically reduced.
Solution: With increased water in the pond and solar powered pumps, we could irrigate the two paddocks, increasing grazing for our livestock.
So far we have installed the framing, roofing material, gutter and downspouts to extend the roof area out over the alley way of our corral area.
The roof extension has made a great difference in keeping rain water run-off out of the alley way where we do a lot of work with various animals around our barn. It has also eliminated the erosion that had been occurring.
WORK PLAN FOR 2011
Next we plan on burying two 6in. PVC pipes from the downspouts to the pond. After that is done we will purchase the solar powered water pump, above ground piping, and related materials.
So far since the project isn’t complete, we have been informing people by word of mouth as to what we are doing. We have had several inquiries from those who have seen the construction going on. We were also mentors in the University of Missouri’s Grow Your Farm program where we gave a report on SARE Grants and how we are using ours.