Sunday, June 26, 2011

Brad Lancaster At Celebrando Las Acequias 2011

We were fortunate to be able to attend the Celebrando las Acequias 2011,
and Estevan Arellano, among others.

This conference was held in Dixon, New Mexico June 10-12.

These first two photos were taken by Sharon Stewart 
and were  included in a photography exhibit that was part of the seminar.

The first photo shows water flowing in the acequia 
while the one above shows the annual spring cleaning of the acequia.

The three days of speakers covered topics from architecture,
 to art, to native foods, to the culture and practice of acequia systems
and much more.

The last speaker was Brad Lancaster 
who I consider to be one of the top experts in rain water harvesting,
and he gave a funny, enthusiastic, and informative talk. 

The photo above shows Brad giving a field demonstration.

In his left hand he shows a model for a house 
and the water in his right hand is the rain.

When the rain falls the water runs off the roof and flows off the property.

The two white pvc pieces above represent tanks to collect the water off the roof.

After they fill up the water again runs off the property.

Next he applies a sponge to show how much water can be collected 
on the ground and allowed to soak into the soil for gardens and trees.

Using berms and swales to hold back the water,
 the ground absorbs the moisture,
 just as a sponge would,
 making an asset of the rain instead of letting it run off 
into gullies or streets where it becomes a liability.

Brad dumps the water from the model tanks into a cup,
then he squeezes the sponge into the cup to demonstrate 
how much more water can still be saved after the tanks are full
 by allowing the water to soak into the ground.

Next he shows us the water level 
and how it can be used in building berms and swales.

A water level is a length of clear plastic tube filled with water,
and fixed to sticks on each end with inch markings on the sticks.

To determine the layout of a berm,
 the sticks should be level at both ends so that the berms are then level, 
making them more effective at holding back water.

If the level of the water in the tubes does not correspond 
to the same number on both sticks they are not level.  

Subtracting the lower number from the higher one
 will tell you how many inches the ground is off level.

Check out Brad's website,
as he has much more there including his books.

And his blog site is Drop in a Bucket Blog.

I will post a link to videos of the proceedings
 as soon as they get them on line in the next couple of months,
in the meantime you can see video of last years conference at 
Celebrando 2010.

I have been particularly interested in the videos of
 Bill Zeedyk and Van Clothier of Stream Dynamics
 on their discussion of stream and arroyo restoration.

 Make plans to attend next year.