We are extremely fortunate to have a bore water system in our garden. We have strategically placed taps every couple of plots. This makes it very easy to water our plots - unless there is no water available!! Why is that? Below is a summary of a talk by the Manager of our golf course on how our system works.
The aquifer system that we draw from is a very healthy and there's plenty of water. In fact, Barb has a reader friendly book from Southern Rural Water that gives a huge amount of information on all the ground water in Victoria. Ask Barb if you would like a lend of it.
In a nutshell, if we want to minimise the number of times that the water 'goes off', we all need to be aware of how it works. What you can do is this:
Don't overwater - you just drain out the nutrients in our sandy soil and create weaker plants who rely on daily water. Treat them mean and they'll create stronger root systems.
Don't water the concrete. If you have to use a sprinkler, ensure all the water goes into your plot.
Our Bore Water System A summary of the talk by Kristy M, Manager, Village Golf Club
The bore water system services the golf course, the veggie patch and about 50 villas.
The bore water gets to these areas like this: A bore draws the water up from the groundwater source and this water fills the top lake. A series of pumps move the water into the community bore system. The bottom lake is not used for watering. Kristy regulates how much water goes into the lake via a timer that can be set from one hour to one day. Kristy estimates how much water will be used the following day/s and sets the timer accordingly – via her PHONE!
If more water is drawn from the lake than anticipated, the water in the lake sinks too low and there’s not enough pressure to keep the pumps going. This also means silt and possibly weeds can be drawn into the pumps. This is regardless of the filters in place before the water goes into the pipe to the pump house, and the one before the water goes into the pumps themselves.
There are other reasons why it stops working like electrical faults, and thunder and lightning but as gardeners we can’t do anything about those causes.
There is one pump underground and two in the pumping shed. The windmill is only for show. She said the pumps are huge and of very good quality. They only stop working if one of the above events happens.
As soon as Kristy is alerted to a problem, via Reception, she goes into the pump house to solve the problem. If you see her soaking wet, it’s because she’s been working on the pump. In this case, the pump will be up and running as soon as the problem is addressed and the lake can be filled to a suitable level.
Now, if silt gets in, that’s a different situation. Professionals have to come in to clean the pumps out and this depends on their availability and the time it takes to clean the pumps out. This can take several days.
The bore water is tested annually and it’s consistently very high in calcium. In our gardens, this can result in poor growth. Don’t add any fertiliser that has calcium in it! Kristy suggested we rely as much as possible on rainwater as this is superior to bore water for our plants. She confirmed what Marie talked about in the August talk last month on soil – we are watering too much. The suggestion is that deep, heavy watering every few days is better than watering a little each day. Deep watering encourages plants to have stronger, healthier roots. Babying the plants with shallow daily watering results in weaker plants.
So, as gardeners, we can all look after the system by minimising the wastage by excessive watering. The practice of watering whole areas – including neighbouring plots (who might not want it) and lots of concrete areas, is not helpful for the system - especially in the warmer weather. Kristy suggested that watering all the foliage from a height is detrimental to the plant – watering is more efficient at root level.
Let’s see if we can reduce the number of ‘outages’ over Summer!!
See The Garden Guidelines re water usage. The relevant guideline says: 10. All plot holders must comply with any water restrictions in place. a. Hand watering may be done using a watering can, bucket or hand held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle. b. Watering or sprinkler systems should not be installed in garden plots. c. The water system in the community garden uses bore water and should be used with common sense.