Pumping water from dam to orchard

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by mrsxtro, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. mrsxtro

    mrsxtro New Member

    Jul 15, 2005
    Queensland, Australia
    Hello all!
    I am a long-time lurker but first-time poster! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all about all your adventures and am about to start on one of my own! Thus my first post asking for advice and information.
    Firstly, a little about me.... married for 12 years, 5 gorgeous kids, live in Queensland, Australia and have just bought 8 acres, and will soon be having a house built on it. It is fascinating to read about the differences in the whole owing land, building house etc process between America and here. Boy, would I like to have the no building regulations that some of you guys have! The local councils like to put their sticky noses into ANY sort of building here. Can't even build a shed or a deck or anything without council approval (plus associated fees!). And goodness what they'd have to say about a sawdust toilet!!! :rolleyes:
    Anyway, enough of my ranting....
    My question... we will be building a pretty big dam on the property and will want to use this to irrigate the proposed orchard and vege patch. My husband and I have no idea about how to pump the water from the dam up to the growing areas (approx. a 3 metre rise, and maybe 150 metres in length). We like the idea of a hand pump connected to irrigation pipes with dripper attachments for each tree in the orchard and maybe soaker hoses underground for the veges. Is this way too much effort for such a lift and distance? Would an electric pump be much better? We are completely green so any suggestions appreciated. And we won't get cross if you laugh at our ridiculously clueless ideas! :)
    Thanks everyone.
  2. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Texas and S. Missouri
    Hubby's mom had a large garden a couple of hundred yards slightly uphill from the creek. She had a gasoline powered impeller pump with 1 1/2 line that went to a large metal tank. This tank was probably 15 feet tall and 8 feet in diameter. Pumped water from the creek till the tank was full. Had a faucet near the bottom of the tank and hooked hose to that and watered conventionally from there. Drip hadn't become popular then.

    Yes, we had a problem with the water authority folks. We won, thy lost. :viking:

  3. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

    Jun 16, 2002
    South Central Kansas
    Welcome aboard the homesteading train. I hope that your journey is a smooth one. Glad you decided to post.

    Your water pumping task should be relatively easy since there isn't much head, i.e. lift required. A hand pump would work but will be time consuming as each stroke doesn't produce much water. The amount depends upon your well cylinder or pumping device.

    If well cylinder purchases there cost like they do here you may be better off just putting in some sort of electric pump. It could even be on a daily timer to give the trees there needed drink each day.

    Boat sump pump style might even provide a fairly inexpensive pump suited for your purpose.

    Gasoline costs are rising it doesn't take much gas to pump quite a bit of water. Gasoline engine pumps are readily available here, and I suppose there. The problem I see with many of them is that they are larger capacity which you won't need nor want for drip irrigation. The ones I'm thinking of are over 100 gallons per minute. You'll have to convert that to metric, Imperial gallons or whatever.

    Wind via a homemade mill such as a Savonius rotor is another possibility if you have a fair amount of wind of course. There are quite a number of mills made in Australia, at least they had quite a display of them at the 1982 Worlds Fair. I also see them on occassion at farm shows here in the U.S.

    Congratulations on your purchase. I hope you and your family fully enjoy the land and the new home when built.
  4. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 20, 2004
    A hand pump is not practical for the volume of water you need over time.

    An electric pump can run at low power for several hours, delivering water as needed to your soaker hoses.

    Perhaps better is placing a large tank on the top of your property, and using an electric, gasoline, wind, or ram pump to fill the tank (rapidly with gas or electric, slowly or when power is available with the ram or wind pump) and then let gravity feed your watering system.

    The size of your pump & tank will depend on how much you wish to irrigate. You generally need quite a few gallons to make a difference to dry gardens.

    A 'ram pump' uses flowing water to 'slam' an air bubble and force a small % of the flowing water up a pipe. It uses no other energy. If you have a dam, I'm guessing you have soe flowing water, either to the dam or from the out-flow of the dam, and you can use that power to do the pumping for you. Usually you need the water when it is the driest, so depends on if you have a steady flow of water all year long....

  5. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

    May 20, 2004
    SE Missouri
    You didn't say whether you have/will have power to the site. If not, you might consider a stand alone solar panel with a slow dc pump and pump to a tank up on a tower (doesn't have to be too tall) and let your drip irrigation run off the tank.