Using permaculture ethics & design principles to transform an old energy guzzling bungalow into a showcase of sustainable design. It's about energy cycling, building community, self-reliance,creatively using & reusing materials... all without spending heaps of money.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Water, water everywhere

Principle 12: Creatively use and respond to change

I was glad that I was on site when the big rains came down on the 7th of March. Alterations in the landscape from earthworks on the building site caused some flooding and I was busy with the shovel diverting water away from the building. The gutters couldn't cope with the intensity of the rain and overflowed at times. The design using the corrugated iron overhang, with LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) and gutters attached meant that no water could overflow into the eaves and flood the house.
The cellar had a significant amount of water in it, about 500mm deep. I don't think that this was because water flowed into it from ground level, but rather because it soaked in through a hole in sump and gaps in the brickwork motar.


Heavy rain, gutters overflowing. Temporary earthworks to divert water away from the building.


Water tank overflowing from the overflow pipe and the inlet. This can undermine the foundations of the tank and cause it to split.


Wetland in flood


Gutters overflowing


Road and drain outside house completely submerged. Whitehead creek in full flow for the first time in many years.



Cellar with about 500mm of water inside. Borrowed petrol transfer pump used to remove water.

Once the cellar dried out I mixed up mortar with Boncrete (waterproofing glue) to fill gaps and the hole in the sump. The cellar has remained dry since, but we haven't had any more heavy rains. Be interesting to see what happens when it does...
I drained the wetland by reducing the level of the overflow. This can easily be changed back by putting back a small amount of soil. It give me greater flexibility on how wet the wetland can be.
Changes were made to the overflow of the water tanks. The cellar tank now has a pipe that overflows into the equilising line that links the two tanks. This allows the cellar tank to be operated independently and will act as a back up water supply with it's own small head for gravity feed. It will also be used for hand watering of plants.
The main tank now has a larger overflow that has temporarily been set up to spill over some milled red gum. The original overflow has been blocked off with silicon and a block of wood cut for the purpose. I'm still thinking about how best to use the overflow water. Perhaps set up a pond of sorts? Or maybe just feed it into the wetland?


Wetland after big rain with overflow channel deepened


Overflow pipe installed on cellar tank which feeds into equalising line / other tank. 25mm line runs to transfer pump which will be housed in the cellar. Water can be drawn from either tank independently.


Abdallah House as viewed from north west corner, showing simplified downpipes to water tank

Temporary overflow pipe from main tank

1 comment:

McCabeandco said...

I saw the old kombi nearly being taken away by the flood. I mean do they float? Great to see you are still at it. Much joy in reading your blog!! Cheers to you!

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