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Pipe dreams

A farm without water won’t be much of a success.

I shouldn’t need to go into the importance of water for our soil and plants, but our situation goes a little further. By building in a field unconnected to local water supplies we’ve had to source water for every part of our daily lives.

By the time we arrived in mid-Jan the pump was in place and giving us clear, good looking water.

Last January when we drilled our well

The only issue was it was around 70-80 metres away from where we planned to build.

We thought this wouldn‘t be much on an issue, and overall it’s been ok. But it was really a temporary measure so this last week or so we’ve been making changes to improve things.

There been a few issues which we hope to put right though. Being so far away, the pump has to work harder to get water to the house. It’s broken down a few times, partly due to this, and partly due to the family’s desire to save us some money by choosing a good deal for the original installation rather then picking the best option.

We found there was a lot of iron in the water too, as metals and ceramics began showing a golden tinge, and more recently, eggy smelling water showed there was lots of sulphur present too.

All this, and the fact that out next stage of land development meant watering by hand -held hose was going to be too big a job meant it was time to rethink our water system.

We turned to Tank, the electrician who hooked our supply up to the grid. Apparently he’s just the guy to set up farm-ready water systems. Time will tell if we too have opted for the easy, cost-effective option or not.

Often in Thailand temporary fixes are made, which don’t really solve the root of the problem but let people believe what they have done is effective, if only for a short while.

At first I was met with lots of ‘we don’t need that now’ comments, but I wanted to put a system in place that didn‘t just solve our water problems for zone 1, but also zone 2, zone 3 and be the foundation to provide water to as yet any unthought of projects. Thankfully Tank got it.

The past week has seen us fix the water pump (again), move our water tank for the house to higher ground, buy a new water tank dedicated for farm water, and upgrade our pump to a quieter, higher pressure pump and a new filter.

Next week we’ll add a drop irrigation system to zone 1 and the basis of our zone 2 system. When we are ready to expand, we just just be able to ‘plug and play’.

And that brings us to one of the few things that has remained consistent during the 20+ years I’ve been here. The use of blue pipe and now we get to lay out own little piece of history ;)

I’d like to say implementing our own blue pipe system is a long-held dream, but I’m not sure that would be accurate. But it does bring me satisfaction.

Once we get the whole system in place we’ll be able to move ahead and plant more vegetables, and also save a lot of watering time.

Then we’ll work out what the next job is.

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be taking a look back at the last year, and looking at how we‘ve gone from living in the city and owning a remote piece of land, to moving lock, stock and barrel to the countryside and making it our home. Should be fun!

our well now with new blue pipe to the water tank and the house in the distance.

Second water tank about to be lifted into place.

drip irrigation from a neighbours field. Coming soon to the One Tree Farm!

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