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Water Management in Permaculture: Build Shallow Pools

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

The monsoon of 2012 showed us how water flows through the land, and allowed us to assess whether we had enough water management initiatives on the property to ensure zero water run off. Remember, we had already dug a main pond higher up on the property, which led to the village pond, which overflowed over the weir into the retention pond. Other than this we had build several dozen swales all over to slow down the water. However, we had found that there was still excess water leaving the retention pond, or overflowing from the channels during a heavy rainfall.

See the images below from August 2012, when the water was still too much, too fast and too destructive.

Since we had some our eco friendly pond liner left over, and also enough space in the forest to build small pools to hold water, we brought in a JCB one last time, to dig 4 shallow ponds within the forest.

digging a pool

The idea was to have these ponds well shaded with the tight plantation of trees and shrubs around them, and somehow make them into perennial ponds where the water can be used by animals for drinking or fooling around. Also we thought we would eventually introduce water lilies and lotuses into these shallow pools which would make for a pretty feature within the forest.

lining a shallow pool

We followed the same principle as for the main ponds Frangipani. We used the displaced soil to fill up patches of low lying areas or uneven surfaces around the property.

digging pools

And we lined up the ponds with the eco friendly liner. And threw pack all the stones we found during our excavation back into the bottom of these pools.

a pool

pool ready for water

Most farmers in our neighbourhood dig a small channel on the edges of their property to drive out the water during the rains. In our case, whenever it rains, we go out on the roads and dig tiny channels to draw water into our property! We ensure all our pools and ponds get as much water and that no water leaves our property during the rains. Our ponds and pools still drain out eventually, and the water probably finds its way to the nearest pond, seasonal river or spring underground. But not as surface run off carrying top soil. But as clean spring water filtered through the soils. Just like nature intended it to be!

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

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