Fundamentally a water source is the primary focus for all our projects. The potential of each site is ascertained depending on its vital water supply and each projects needs. Here we look at the varying attributes and challenges in Portugal concerning the water sources.
Living Waters Providing Life
“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water .” W H Auden
It is fairly obvious to most that 'Water is Life', yet the manner in which we have directed our use and care of it is tantamount to abuse should water be considered the living entity it clearly is. From that perspective all designs incorporated into land projects only use systems that nurture waters vitality and health in the best possible way based on our current knowledge. Farming is under pressure to shift to more nourishing practices and through regenerative methods is finding new ways to replenish microbial life in the soils. An added advantage of the practice is the protection and benefit of ground source water supplies through continual diverse ground cover. Land is never bare thus reducing evaporation of rainfall held in the ground. Water supply needs a major shift in perspective based upon natural cycles, its preservation in the ground through diverse ground cover and land design is imperative.
Every situation has a solution with the most important knowledge being the rainfall pattern and local water sources. In Portugal this is generally spring fed sources and water mines allowing extraction into a water system. Rainfall harvesting is also important and is possible for around 9 months of the year with around 1000mm average rainfall in Castelo Branco region. There is also a well developed mains water supply in most areas yet here we focus on strategy to develop your own supply.
Potential Water Options in Castelo Branco
Buying land with a natural water supply is a challenge if you do not know the area or the water courses habits all year round. This means you would need to be looking at land in July-August as these are the driest months. This year 2022 has been the driest on record and rivers I have seen run all are not running. (Aug 2022). The wells are still able to supply water so our particular land is still ok.
It is imperative you can see the water in place during the driest months as it is also the hottest period. If you are growing food this is obviously a critical necessity for a viable growing plan.
Rainfall - Should you be harvesting rainfall from the wettest months to use in the driest months you would have to calculate how much your growing plans would use and this would have to be stored in ponds or tanks or both. Should it be both the pond would still need to not run dry as lots of life will be relying on it also. I calculate 30-40% use of the supply before I would leave it to replenish in the wetter months.
Wells - Local advisers using wells (water mines) have stated use it or lose it! If you do not they silt up and you have to dig them out again and line them if not lined. Each well depends on the ground source supply and vary in extraction quantities and recharging times. This means you have to try it and see what that means throughout the year to determine your supply amounts. There is no given amount and each area and season will fluctuate. Saying that it is the most wide spread means of supply I have seen after looking at many areas and lands.
Springs - Springs are also wide spread yet not as common as wells. They are the best supply should you be lucky enough to get a piece of land that has a spring. Mainly because it is generally good enough for drinking also and pretty constant if not all users on its course are greedy consumers running huge agri concerns. You should make a litres per minute flow rate test to determine a sensible use of the supply and what may be fed into your storage ponds and tanks.
“"Water is the driving force of all nature."- Leonardo da Vinci..”
Whatever water supply you may find to feed your needs it must be understood that all waters on Earth feed life itself and respect and your consideration of it enhances your and every land project. With so many areas around the Earth being currently affected by drought and fluctuating weather patterns it clearly reflects back to us the consequences of our actions and climate changes. Travelling through so many affected areas recently I know our eroded and altered ecosystems are the problem. We are creating deserts through ignorance and greed. Technology is not the answer for this, our actions are. To begin the healing of the ecosystems we must be sensitive to the natural cycles and stop the utter dominion over the land.
CLIMATE CHANGES - LET US CHANGE WITH IT