It's all about the waterflow.

The dam on Meyrik Farm had been dry for many years due to the prolonged drought that the region had suffered from. -Needless to say when the much needed rain arrived we were extremely excited and spend most of the time outside observing how the water flowed.

We discovered that:

  • Water was just running down the hill underneath the cabin and off the cliff.
  • Water that was running into the dam dragged a lot of silt and soil with it.
  • Our gutters were leaking and we lost a lot of water that could have been caught by our water tanks.

Gutters can be fixed and replaced, but what to do about the silt and run-off?

We used an escavator and dug the soil out around the cabin. The cabin is on posts so it's good to do that anyway for termite protection.

There was no grass on the property due to cows from the neighbouring property eating all of it during the drought as they looked for food further afield. No grass meant that there was nothing catching the silt during huge downpours with everything running off into the dam. So, we started throwing grass seeds and even transplanting grass that popped up in gardens, with some successes and some failures. We will never have a perfect lawn but the soil have improved dramatically from the dusty sandy soil it was to now being moist nutrient rich soil covered mostly in grass.

As a further step we dug out trenches at the entrance of the dam and lined it with rock barriers. We looked at the waterflow and realized we needed two trenches due to the massive downpours we have witnessed on the mountain top. The soil was dug deep enough that we hit the sandstone rock of the mountain. The rocks and newly grown grass now catches all the silt and streams of water just pours into the dam when it rains.

Elsewhere on the farm more trenches were dug or soil built up in areas to direct water flow away from the cabin and straight into the dam.

Due to the clever observations of my hubby we only need 50mm of rain to completely fill the dam from empty to full due to the increased catchment area.

More dams are being planned for, but as you can see, it's not always about the amount of rain that you get, but how you capture and maximize the collection of the rainfall. This is an increasingly important factor for dry countries like Australia where most of the rainwater just runs off into the ocean when it could be captured with smarter thinking and better planning.

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