Rain-catchers are devices or strategies to collect rain. When used in an Ecological-Synergy™ context they are constructed devices used to apportion out the annual rainfall through dry periods so as to live within oneís annual rainfall budget. Lion of Morningstar Farms™ are ecologically sound entities and will not "steal" water from the local eco-systems, when conservation and sound water management polices can provide sufficient water using intelligence, scientific principles, and simple technology. Rain-catchers are the input half of the water management scheme, with homestead sewage treatment plants providing pollution neutralization in the output half.
Where ground water is in deep strata, it is ultimately cheaper to catch rain than perpetually pump ground water. Where water can be found in shallow wells it is likely contaminated from many decades of chemical-based farming, and possibly poisoned from industrial pollutant recklessly disposed of by eco-illiterates. In some farm communities people donít know their well is poisoned until family members and neighbors start dropping dead. Some long-lasting pollutants which were banned years ago will continue leaching into the ground water supplies in toxic amounts for centuries to come.
The concepts and principles in rain-catching are simple and use very easy basic math. Water is usually measured in gallons, and on farm-sized irrigated units it is sometimes measured in "acre-feet". A gallon is a volume measurement of 231 cubic inches, and a cubic foot is 7.48 gallons; while an acre foot is one foot depth of water spread over a hypothetical flat acre (43,560 cubic feet, or about 325 thousand gallons). For rough & ready quick calculations which you can do in your head, figure an acre-foot to be about 1/3rd million gallons. For every acre farmed there is 1/3rd million gallons of water for every twelve inches of rainfall annually.
Central Europeís fertile farmlands get 40-50 inches of rainfall annually or about 1 1/3rd million gallons per acre. North of San Francisco Bay there is 60 to 70 inches annually, but it almost all falls in the winter rainy season, with very little rain from April through October. It is not how much rain you get that is important, but how much water you have at the times you most need it that is important. Catching and impounding water is expensive if the terrain characteristics are not ideal. Water is the universal solvent, rusting, corroding, leaking, slipping away whenever it can, and as a defining ingredient of life it is an absolutely vital necessity.
Lion of Morningstar Farms™ are designed rain-savvy, using building roof areas as catchment devices, using rain-gutters to channel water to where it is wanted, and using ponds and cisterns as impoundment containers. Ponds serve multiple duties, being irrigation reservoirs, fish & waterfowl habitats, thermal modifiers for the local microclimate, and aquatic plant growth mediums for animal fodder/compost ingredients. Cisterns are for potable water supplies. Building roofs are not the only catchment surface used to collect rain, and both passive and active devices come into use for additional catchment requirements.
Some designs are patentable, providing limited-duration control over who uses them, how and where. This is one way to insert ecological requirements on users who need the value provided by the intellectual property. IES will research improvements and hold patents available for license.
LOM Farms are designed from the terrain characteristics present on site. All elevations are considered, with ponds sited as high on the property as is feasible for gravity-fed irrigation. Windbreaks and shade are used to some extent to defend against excess evaporation losses, adjusting for other factors, such as solar requirements for aquatic and adjacent lifeforms.
Total water supplies are calculated before farm layout is begun. Available water from wells, streams, and community piped water supplier is considered, including possibilities of toxic contaminants. Normal annual rainfall, and month-by-month norms are researched. Soils are tested for contaminants, tilth characteristics, and nutrient factors present. Of particular concern is clay percentage present in the soil, as pond water-proofing is much cheaper if concentrated clay deposits can be located on site. Too much clay would be a major concern to conventional farmers, but are not to LOM Farms, as the plantings are made in eco-synergistic soils made by the farmer.
Where clay is insufficient, gley may be used. (Gley is a waterproofing substance exuded by anaerobic bacteria using the putrefaction decomposition process in packed layers of rich organic materials, which has been isolated from atmospheric penetration. More details on gley waterproofing will be furnished in more complete documents.) The ducks and waterfowl population is eco-synergistically selected to assist in gley production and pond base waterproofing.
For cisterns, a basic ferro-cement cylinder shape is cost-effective. Cast in place, it is half the price of plastic water storage tanks. Reusable forms may be rented from LOM Farms Inc. Plans to make your own are also available. Morning Star Institute of Ecological Synergy™ is mandated to do continuing research & development on water impoundment and water purification, since water is so necessary to healthy farming and ecology protection. Ongoing testing on materials, methods and costs will bring forth improvements.
Water catchment, impoundment, filtration, and purification are subjects which IES students are required to master in depth. Issues which affect drip irrigation systems are particularly required study. Because of the knowledge obtained, IES graduates and LOM Farm operators can consider farming lands not currently considered agricultural. In some basins subterranean water is too salty or too alkaline for irrigation, or sometimes it is too deep or absent completely. Rainfall may come at inconvenient times and the terrain may not be well suited to hold it without application of knowledge which has not been widely taught in the past. Besides a mismatch in water supply to consumption desires, soils may not be of good farming quality. Other documents describe how IES & LOM Farms address ecological synergy soil production.
With the advantage of knowledge and techniques, the LOM Farmer can select farmland which is lower priced than conventional farm-ready lands, because the land either never had the resources to squander, or it is already depleted by the wastrel, profligate, anti-ecological practices of chemical dependency farming. In many cases IES & LOM techniques can reclaim such lands to ecological and economic value. Wildlife requires fresh water, and is welcome to avail themselves of LOM Farm ponds. A portion of domestic livestock and cash crops will be lost to predation, but that is what makes ecology work for everybodyís benefit. Eco-synergistic farmers intervene as needed to keep checks and balances in place, and synergy is what provides the profits. The wildlife is not intruders in our turf, nor are we intruders in theirs. We are a community in harmony.
Only the human farmer can provide the technology, the machinery, and can harness the energy required to promote the ecology to the synergistic level, but the farmer is a dead duck without the ecology in the long run. The most expensive experiment in artificial ecosystem management to date, "Biosphere 2" was a dismal failure.
IES advanced curricula will cover water in a thorough manner, covering all manner of pumps, windmills, water wheels and turbines, diesel & internal combustion generators to run pumps, tractor PTO and other devices for temporary situations, and heavy equipment operation for terraforming ponds & terraces, as a few of the required subjects.
Besides input, the output side of the consumption equation is equally important to be understood. Homestead sewage treatment requires its own document, but in a short summation: input solids are steam pasteurized at 160° F, or better, to kill organic pathogens, and the sludge is then pumped to a dehydration fixture site. Depending on many factors, permits and local regulations, this fixture might in some cases be a settlement pond and living aquatic plants & algae filtration system separate from the other waterworks. Liquids from this dehydration fixture may be suitable for non-edible irrigation, such as trees, and ornamental shrubs. To the extent that this reclaimed water is useful for wood and fiber crops production, it reduces the size of other water supplies for total homestead needs. After the pasteurization and filtration this water will be completely safe, and provide no health hazard potential different from other waters. The carbonaceous dehydrated sludge could be pressed into fuel briquets to be used to fire a ceramics kiln, or even to create some of the heat used by the pasteurization process. Again, these processed briquets are not any health hazard, and in fact, they are not even smelly when dried.
So, you could probably build a raincatcher of sorts from some tarps and a barrel, some staves made from peeled trees with a curve in them. It would look like a garden sculpture. Give it a try! But if you want all the water that fell on your roof,
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