Water Is My Problem... Not My Burdon.
We had some friends over on a weekend including the next door neighbor (20 acres to the south). The neighbor, Daren, asked if we knew anything, or were curious, about where our water comes from. As it turns out we had been talking about the water problem on the property for weeks now. There is no problem with delivery but there are about ten easements each one having water rights over a particular spring or section of spring all of which are on our property. If it isn't obvious already. All the water this side of town (some might say village) is gravity fed from mountain springs.
The problem here is that some of these water lines are over 80 years old. Most are PVC however some are iron. We are not exactly sure where they are buried or how deep they are buried. On top of that there are some spring-fed mortar water-trough's which have low volume feeds with constant runoff.
The run-off uses drain-tile to divert the water to the bottom of the property. There is also something called weeping-tile. Used in conjunction with drain-tile to 'weep' (water actually drips through this stuff) unwanted water, not soil, to wherever. This leads to a big problem as to where we can develop without a disruption to a neighbors water or our drainage for that matter. Frankly I am not opposed to do what I want wherever I want and work diligently with any neighbor whose water I might disturb. If you can't tell me where your waterline is I can't avoid it and that's not my fault and I can't let it impede my development process. Sorry Neighbors.
At the base of the mountain is the main water feed to the shack. On the left side is an old, rather large, iron pipe. Nobody had any idea how old it is or who it actually feeds. It's big enough to handle small scale irrigation. Anyway my feed is the PVC on the right. Now this is a real piece of plumbing here. It violates all rules of fluid dynamics as well as any plumbing basics. Let's examine it closely.
At the top there is a PVC feed. Maybe 1-in. Where the PVC meets the galvanized there is a 'T' which feeds the neighbor. The buried pipe (to the neighbors) is a larger diameter then the 1-in. main (first mistake, expansion can not deliver the necessary volume). On my side (galvanized section) of the 'T' the pipe is reduced to 1/2-in. (second mistake, starving my water is not going to increase your volume). At the end of the galvanized section there is a 1/4 turn ball-joint which is mostly closed. Is there a problem somewhere with my water supply that this plumbing shenanigan is trying mask by starving me. My usage is so small (for a farm) that I am little burden on this system.
Hmm... My neighbor does have a big lawn and garden and a bunch of cows and a bunch more people living there. Are they trying to pull something over on me or do they not know any better.
Also if you look closely to the right side of the upper union (best seen on the right picture) you can see that my feed is leaking on top of everything else. That's not going to be good in the frozen winter. Do you think I should get a set of winter coveralls. Stay tuned for updates. This ones going to cause trouble.
So up the mountain we all climbed....
The first thing we come to is a mess of pipes. These pipes run all over the place. It's really out of control.
There are also several reservoirs as well. Most of them are a complete embarrassment. They are leaking or improperly installed. The only functional (or would be) one seems abandoned. It is large. Feeds on the top. Drains on the bottom. Unfortunately since it is rotted we couldn't determine where the run-off would have gone.
No matter how you sum it up. The magnificent water supply and it's collection on this paradise is in utter ruin.
I have been hoping that, in the interests of everyone, and to avoid publicly distributed water (heavily chlorinated), 'All' the farms that benefit from the water on my mountain can work together to develop a water system that is functional, serviceable and perpetual (at least for all our lifetimes). My plan is to build a large cedar reservoir system with ample feeds to everyone and with run-off I can control. I would like nothing more then to have a rock lined creek through the property feeding a pond at the base (highway) and to remove some water hot-spots that are in my building path. I can still do what I want without anyone's cooperation however It would really behoove us all to work towards a system that will be manageable for a long time to come. This proposal would include moving the waterlines to either edge of the property (property-lines) so that it will forever be known where they lie as well as the least amount of current and future development burden.
This is the view of the property from the springs. All the property up to the highway (and then some) is ours as well as a few hundred more feet up the mountain behind me.
All the other farms shown are recipients of my wonderful water.