Permaculture Designers Manual
CHAPTER 7 – WATER IN PERMACULTURE
Section 7.7 –
Designers Checklist in Chapter 7 Permaculture Designers Manual
On any property, identify sources of water, analyze for quality and quantity and reserve sites for tanks, swales, or dams.
Wherever possible, use slope benefits (or raise tanks) to give gravity flow to use points. Also, detail plant lists that will grow (as mature plants or trees) without irrigation.
In the general landscape, soil samples (for 40% or more clay content) will reveal sites suited to earth-dam construction: such sites need to be reserved for future storages.
A sequence of primary valleys may enable a Keyline system to be established for downhill fire control and irrigation.
Where evaporation exceeds precipitation (arid areas), make sure all water runoff is infiltrated to soil storages via soil conditioning (rip-lines), swales, pits or sand field soakage’s. In humid areas, open surface dams can be used.
Define water “pathways” in use, so that water use is economical in houses and that grey water is used in gardens (via filtration beds), forests or (for villages) design for clean-up on site through a common effluent scheme based on maximum use (methane, plant production, irrigation).
Get good advice on and supervise construction of all dams. Wherever possible do not impede normal stream flow or fish migration and site houses out of the way in case of dam failure.
In particular, allow adequate table spillway flow for “worst case” rain intensity.
Make sure that all earth storages and in particular swales, are planted with trees, to remove infiltrated water and (in arid areas) to prevent salting problems.
Before recommending cloud-seeding, make sure that the area to be affected is warned and that dams and swales are designed to cope with any increase (up to 30%) in rains.
Design for forested ridges and maximize forest on strategic uplands; do not lend your skills to high-country deforestation (or any deforestation).
Windbreaks and in-crop trees are essential to reduce water loss in croplands.