1. robbob

    robbob Junior Member

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    How much does a large swale cost per square meter? How many meters can usually be done in a day of work. I am asking about a 500 hectare property in Villacastin, Spain. There is a large inclination throughout the property, there is enormous water capture capabilities.
    How should pricing go on dams? It probably depends on many factors. Dam wall price per meter?
    Bamboo and ground cover on dam wall, right? What plants, leguminous trees are good for swale walls?
     
  2. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    G'day Robbob,

    Swales are extremely efficient to create if you can have access to a grader. The job could be completed in a relatively short amount of time. Prices will depend on your local area, the type of soils you have (ideally your property is not growing rocks) and the length, size and amount of swales you wish to create. Tilt bucket loaders will also do the job quite efficiently, the least efficient being excavators.

    Pricing dams will depend on the amount of soil that needs to be moved. Valley shapes will determine how much soil will need to be moved to achieve the capacity dam you are after. You can make a good estimate of how much earth needs to be moved which will give your contractors a ball park figure for costs. See Darren Doherty's artilcle to make your calculations http://heenandoherty.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/off-contour-7-earth-dam-design.html

    Installing a lockpipe can almost double the costs of building a dams (according to the Keyline book, although materials are cheaper now so probably unlikely to blow out budgets) but will add to the viability of your dam. Diversion and irrigation channels will also need to be considered but costs may be similar to your swales, with similar amount of precision needed to build.

    Look into your native legumes for your swales and then see what are best suited for forage for the animals on the property. For dam alls, you dont want anything with a big root mass, they will penetrate the wall and once they die off they will leave furrows for water to concentrate which may lead to tunnel erosion that undermines your dam.
     
  3. robbob

    robbob Junior Member

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    Spain Permaculture

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for the tips. I put up a photo of the topography map of the place I am going to reconvert. Any more suggestions are welcome.
    The property can be found at: 40°43'34.93"N 4°25'3.86"W
     
  4. robbob

    robbob Junior Member

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    [​IMG]

    Here is a google earth image with a topographical map overlay of the land
     
  5. robbob

    robbob Junior Member

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    Is 500 mm of annual rain too little? I imagine any rain fall is good, but this is what the area where the land is receives of rain yearly.
     
  6. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    depends on your site but you wouldnt get much cheaper than 1500---2000$ per mega liter
    bamboo is great on dam walls but your rainfall mightnt be enough
     
  7. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    G'day Robbob,

    Never a pretty sight to see such big expanses of land without trees, no wonder they aren't making money. The stock will be stressed from exposure to the elements and the lack of rainfall in summer would make it hard to imagine their is enough grass around. The wind that blows across this site will be sapping the moisture from the soil. Do they spend alot of money on sillage?

    The open pit mine is a bit of an eyesore too, but a potential source of good earthworks contractors with machinery and skills right there!

    Its a bit hard for me to see whats going on and where some good sites might be for dams and swales. A 2metre topo map would be preferable. I know Eugenio Gras helped do a topo map in Mexico, quite a large area (as in 100s of hectares) all with a laser level and a GPS unit. It took him a couple of days but it would be invaluble for future planning. Let me know if you have this available and I can tell you how, although its pretty simple.

    A few points I could see potential for is a dam site at 3 oclock. There is a 1st order strem running north towards what looks like some stables or a hacienda? A dam at this site with diversion drains to increase the catchment would benefit a huge area for irrigation. The irrigation is done via a lockpipe fitted at the bottom of the dam which runs into an irrigation channel. This channel can run around the contour, but with a 1:3-400 fall so water falls slowly along the channel. The terrain map on Google from this point shows it wrapping around past that building as well as back towards what looks like the homestead.

    Like I said, its hard for me to determine what size dam and what length of irrigational channel would be possible.

    If this location is close to the cattleyards, it could be a good size area to ensure some quality forage for finishing off cattle prior to market.

    Another potential site for a dam may be on the western boundary at the saddle point between the hill and the southern range. It might not be ideal for catchment, but with a long diversion drain, this would increase the catchment of the dam. The irrigation area could also be quite good along the southern range.

    In the Keyline Plan, the area between the diversion and irrigation channels can be a good location for contoured tree belts.

    The southern end range might be good for swales, but remember that the swales will be catching rain in winter, when your soils are cold, and your trees are dormant. This is also south facing so not ideal in your hemisphere. I see more potential with a Keyline Plan, catching the rain when it falls, for use later in the summer when its needed.

    You might find good sites for swales on a north facing slope, especially if they can spread water from any valley out across the landscape. You would want to ensure that you have evergreen trees and pioneers to utilise this water, although the water stored in the soil will benefit.

    Another thing to consider is your predominant wind direction. If you get some constant winds from any direction at certain times of the year, you want to look at how you can put a substantial tree belt perpendicular to this wind. This will benefit your animals from the protection from the winds, as well as your soil and grasses. It will help the drying out of the soil, and tree belts on ridges will increase the area protected down wind.

    If you can explain the benefits of trees on their property, I think the owners might come around to other ideas. The increased weight gains on animals, supplemental feed from edible trees, and short and long term wood production for fences, firewood and high quality timber, will only increase the profits of this farm. A rotational grazing plan with a free range egg enterprise will all help to increase natural and financial capital, and will make a very pleasant working atmosphere for everyone invovled.

    One last suggestion is to go to www.soilandhealth.org and look in their agriculture section for the late, great P.A Yeomans' books on Keyline. Challenge of Landscape is available as a free download, and was the precursor to Water for Every Farm, and a great book in its own right to familiarise yourelf with Keyline Desine. His mate Willian A. Albrecht is there too with some good stuff on soil science. Well worth getting the basics down.

    Espero que tienes fuerzas para el camino, y bien suerte!
     
  8. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    Your doin better than me matto ,I cant even c the picture?
     
  9. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    warm temperate - some frost
    You can see the picture in albums if you go to robs prifile Andrew but I agree that Matto has done well as the pics are a bit blury for my old eyes. It does look like an interesting site.
     
  10. robbob

    robbob Junior Member

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    Pictures of the land

    Here are the pics of the land where the project is going to be done.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    Im not sure if it is still available but the spanish gvt or the ec used to give farmers $$ to lock up areas to grow dehesa
    what is the mine
    Legumes; what is there already ?carob

    honey locust, robinia try some acacias, judas tree, coral tree,silk tree Albizzia
     
  12. matto

    matto Junior Member

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  13. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    My 900 m swale just filled up ;; v exciting
    Just one question one side of the Dam (Main drainage line) is 100m the other side is 800m given the water can onley escape via sills under its own head it would be reasonable that most water is taking the shorter route ,is this normal???
    Im having fun adjusting sills and generally playing in water
    The water yesterday took 4 hrs to travel the last 100m of highley absorbant semi basaltic clay (I could see it literally sucking the headwaters into the clay),even after 100mm rainfall
     
  14. camwilson79

    camwilson79 Junior Member

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    I was wondering if it's possible on this forum to upload a Google Earth .kmz file (with relevant overlays). It would make it easier for people like Matto to provide advice. As you've already overlaid the contours in this case, you would also need to attach the original contour image so the person who's assisting can link to it on their own computer. Cheers
     
  15. camwilson79

    camwilson79 Junior Member

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    You're on the right track there Andrew with why more water is heading over the sill on the shorter side. More hydraulic gradient for starters (if the dam's up 200mm, that's a 1:500 gradient to the sill on the short section and only 1:4000 on the long) along with more soil and plants to rub up against along the way. If you get a bit more over the winter, we'll jump back onto grabbing you that bamboo.
     
  16. camwilson79

    camwilson79 Junior Member

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    Re #12
    For Keyline resources, this article written by Darren and Abe Collins is a pretty useful resource too: Keyline Mark IV
     
  17. camwilson79

    camwilson79 Junior Member

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    Re #2 by Matto:
    A rule of thumb is about 1000m3 of earth moved per day when building a dam with a dozer, plus topsoil replacement.
     
  18. camwilson79

    camwilson79 Junior Member

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    Nice post Dave
     
  19. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    Dave is it possible fcor yiou to ggl earth about 8km west of Dundee there is a property that was keylined in the 50's it still looks exceptional
    Dont know if there many other examples on this scale
    G Lawton claims the leval sill was invented in the northern tablelands i would suggest it was here by Duncan Macewan an exceptionally driven individual who looked like Chesty Bond ie could lift a 44 onto a ute ,built a boat taught self and mates to waterski in mid 60s
     
  20. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    G'day Cam, good to see you here. Hows business in the land rehydration game?

    G'day Andrew, that property looks pretty amazing, a testament to the permanence of Keyline. And probably what can be done prior to water licencing... a lot of diversion and irrigation channels, it must take a while to get to the back paddock. Do you know if its still a functioning property?
     

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