Water-Saving Techniques for Natural Irrigation

Dan This Land of Ours, Water


In the second of her series on irrigation, Cathy Isom discusses several of the water-saving garden techniques for natural irrigation. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

Water-Saving Techniques for Natural Irrigation

We are much better off using rainwater for our irrigation needs. It’s fresher, not chemically cleaned, and best of all it’s free. All that’s required, is making small changes to the landscape to have water remain before it drains.

Some of the most common techniques used are swales, berms, and terraces, all of which rely on contour lines to pacify water flows.  Otherwise, basins and other infiltration traps are great for natural draining lines.  

Swales are great for mildly sloping land and taking advantage of hard surface runoff, such as roofs and driveways, and they’re extremely useful for growing trees.

Berms are generally the result of swales. They are loose mounds of dirt put down the slope of ditches or basins. 

Terraces are the solution for steeper hillsides, anything above a 15 percent gradient. They are level platforms created along contour lines. Generally, the inner part of the terrace, nearest the back wall, has a walking path and/or swale. The outer part of the terrace is planted with gardens.

Basins are shallow, depressed areas of land with level bottoms. They are commonly put around the drip lines of trees or where water naturally congregates, with trees planted around them. The basins are filled with mulch so that water sits and soaks into them, becoming available to tree roots. 

When irrigating naturally, it’s better to design the irrigation system first, utilizing the existing advantages to decide on the appropriate earthworks. It is also worth considering to have a commercial well installation with well pumps on your property as an alternative water source. Getting a well pump installation would mean that you would never lose access to this vital resource, which depending on the climate in your area, the irrigation system you have, and what you are growing on your land, could be an absolute necessity.

I’m Cathy Isom…