Water Capture from High Tunnel Diversion into Irrigation System using Renewable Energy
- Grant funds were used this year to purchase the supplies and equipment needed for the water capture system and for the time needed to research what items are needed, to prepare the high tunnel to accept the system and to complete a temporary set up and removal of the system prior to ground freeze in the fall of 2013 in anticipation of installation planned for spring 2014. Funds were also used toward labor time spent doing the research, contacting outreach partners, driving around to get all of the equipment and supplies and doing the test installation late fall of 2013.
- I procured the needed equipment after exploring different options for all of the parts of the water capture system. I settled on products based on capacity appropriate to the volume of water expected to be shed from the plastic cover of the high tunnel. For example, a 1” rain event is expected to yield approximately 600 gallons of rain water based on a 960 square foot enclosure, so (12) 49 gallon rain barrels have been purchased to hold that volume of water. Larger capacity gutters will direct the maximum amount of water toward the rain barrels and less will be wasted in the event of a rainfall that produces a large volume of water in a short period of time. I purchased a water meter to collect data regarding how much water is diverted from the storm sewer system into the drip irrigation system inside the high tunnel.
- Plans for 2014 include installing the entire system and monitoring the amount of water collected. One row of plants will be set aside as a control to show any discernable difference between plants watered with rain water versus those watered using municipal water. Labor will include installing the system, monitoring and adjusting as needed, hosting tours, data collection and sharing, managing volunteers, and community outreach.
- I shared information about this project with Ramsey County Master Gardeners, the group organizing Frogtown Farms, organizers of the annual High Tunnel Conference, organizers of the “Community Meal” project, reporters who visited our site and the Capital Region Watershed District Office staff who came to see progress toward installation as of fall 2013.
Over the remainder of the 2 year term of the grant, I will be hosting a tour of the Ramsey County Master Gardeners on August 19, 2014 and a tour organized by the Capitol Region Watershed District. Additional groups and individuals, including students from 3 area schools, will be invited to come and see the water catchment system. Others will be invited through the COMGAR listserv. I have also offered to present findings at the University of Minnesota Extension sponsored High Tunnel Conference to be held early in 2015.
Page & Flowers
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