I haven’t gotten around to sending a Peak Moment newsletter this past couple of months because all our energy has been consumed with necessities: Infrastructure. In particular, our water systems. The requirement for water resilience has been underscored by Reality this summer.
We got our gravity-fed 4000 gallon water system functional (but not finished) for high-pressure fire hoses only one day before a wildfire broke out about eighteen miles down the canyon. Smoke and ash drifted into our woods, and the sunlight through smoke was an eerie yellow cast. By the time nearly 4000 acres burned, we were only two fire-widths away.
Our primary goal was to have the high-pressure water for fire hoses near the homestead when fire season was in full swing. We made it barely just in time, but those hoses have 75 psi (pounds per square inch) and could spray a dandy arc over the house.
The next water system emergency came about ten days later — last weekend. Our well is not recharging sufficiently to meet the needs of the three tenant-gardeners and four homesteads on our property. We risk burning out the existing pump. We had been working towards setting up a backup well — and now it’s on a fast-track of necessity. This second well will be connected to the existing water system, hopefully supplying water to everyone. (Note as of 8/30: it looks like the problem is circuit breakers in the generator. Good thing we already had the backup generator to swap in).
Resilience is the ability to withstand or recover from a difficult situation, a shock to the system. Water resilience for us means increased storage capacity and locations, redundant supply (multiple wells, pumps and generators), interconnections so any well can supply any site. (That doesn’t count rainwater catchment. Yet.)
The wildfire was a potent reminder of why we’re building water resilience. We need resilience to response to climate chaos here in the arid west: extended drought, longer summers, increasing wildfires.
I’ll get to the newsletter and other niceties once this more-resilient water system necessity is functional.
Say, how are you set for water resilience — during drought, or if a water main is broken, or a power outage disrupts water pumping?