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Water Management in Permaculture: Building a Channel

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

There were many things we were required to do to manage the water on the farm.

1. Make a channel for the storm water run off so that it travels through the farm slowly and in a defined path

2. Build another reservoir to hold the excess water

3. Build swales across the property to slow down the run off

In this post we are explaining how we built the channel. Basically, there is a storm water drain entering the property on the northern boundary. This is a big cement pipe laid under the road adjoining the farm, and through which water from the nearby hills drains out into the property.

Now conventional farmers had shunned this piece of land for decades because of this water. They thought it was disruptive, damaging, it took away the top soil, and generally created chaos. We chose this piece of land for this source of water! It entered our land strategically right at the highest point, and if we could slow it down, channelize it, store the excess water, we knew we could be at a huge advantage here!

Remember this sketch we had made at the outset. Well the green marking shows how we expect to channelize the water through the property and store it at different places on the land.

permaculture layout design

We dug out a shallow channel from the mouth of the storm water drain, down to the first pond. We added all the stones we separated while digging the holes for the trees into this channel.

water channels permaculture

water management permaculture

Since the channel crossed our walking path, we added a few concrete under the walking path for the water to cut across to the pond.

water management permaculture

water management pipes

Later we lined this entire channel with bamboo plants and wild grasses which would slow down the water flow, and also help the water to drop its sediment before it reaches the reservoir. The next time it rained, we had a far smoother flow of water through the property, with it first meandering through the channel, hitting the first reservoir, then going to the second pond and then to the final reservoir.

For surface run off, making the reservoirs, and restoring the weir, see the other blog posts.

For more information on water management, you can watch the following videos:

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