Category Archives: Water Harvesting + Reuse

‘Oaks Organics’ Keyline Farm field trip: May 4th


Want to check out a keyline farm designed by P.A. Yeomans in western Sydney? Here’s your chance.

As part of  The Yeomans Project, our friends Lucas and Ian are hosting a field trip to the extremely interesting property ‘Oaks Orgaincs’ on May 4th…  Continue reading

Erosion restoration design, one year on


Last spring the Milkwood interns cooked up a design to tackle the erosion on a degraded hillside next to the woolshed, and then implemented and planted it all out. This design was done collaboratively and realised with simple tools and natural materials. One year on, it’s working a treat.

The parameters for this design had constraints of time and budget, as well as the fact that the area to be dealt with was quite large and exposed. On top of these factors, in the middle of the area was a former path that was eroding into a gully. Not good. Time to fix. Continue reading

Building a biological DIY greywater system (with no reedbeds)

Our criteria for building the greywater system for the tinyhouse was pretty simple: cheap, made from readily available materials, and effective. We also wanted to use the outputs to irrigate a grove of important fruit trees, as water is very precious here, especially in a dry year.

After many, many hours of research on systems involving reed beds, infiltration trenches, fancy UV zappers and all the rest, we decided, on the advice of permaculture and greywater specialist Ross Mars, to keep it simple, and let the biology do the work. Continue reading

EcoPOP – cooling Sydney’s streets…

An ecoPOP is a small and self-contained city oasis, boasting a simple, self-contained system of self-watering fruit trees, herbs, water collection and a worm farm.

Intended to be installed in places like a median strip in a suburban street, they’re designed to incrementally offset the ‘heat island’ effect of urban streets, slow traffic, and create community. Continue reading

DIY Mulch Pit Greywater System

Greywater is a resource that can be awesome if capitalized upon, especially on a farm with unpredictable rainfall. We’ve just finished a simple greywater system that we’re pretty darn happy with.

Up at the woolshed we have two greywater sources: the washing machine, and the outside sink. Both these water sources provide pulses of water that could be helping grow a gorgeous living environment if used properly, so after a good deal of talking about it we finally did something… Continue reading

In which the House Dam fills but does not fail – Huzzah!

So just over a year ago, our house dam filled for the first time. And then went into scary nearly-melt-down. So we pumped the water out, fixed it, and then waited for it to fill again. And waited. For a year.

Do excuse multiple soggy shots of muddy pools, but this is big news at Milkwood Farm. Last weekend, for the first time, our swale and dam system filled, thanks to a big downpour on the tail of a very wet spring. And nothing went wrong. Yay! Continue reading

Top tank overflow: design + implementation

On occasion, our two big water tanks at the very top of Milkwood Farm overflow. What to do with the intermittent extra water? It’s too precious to just drain away. Time to design a water catchment and planting plan to make the most of it.

Since solving this problem is both necessary and interesting, we decided to develop an intern project around it. The brief: design, implement and plant a system that makes use of intermittent excess water, shelters the intern camp and shed, and provides a useful yield. Go, you fabulous interns! Continue reading

The saga of the middle dam

First off, i would like to make an important point: we are yet to meet a challenge at Milkwood Farm that we could not fix with careful thought, good advice, relentless research, a strong dose of creativity and a stronger dose of humor. That said, the saga of the middle dam nearly had us stumped. But we got there in the end, with a strong brew of the above.

Secondly, I would like to point out that sharing our challenges so nakedly on this blog is not something I really enjoy doing. Sometimes I would rather paint a rosy picture of first-generation farmers awash in successfully implemented permaculture solutions and photogenic fields of nitrogen-fixing perennials. But hey – where’s the fun in that? Continue reading

Gravity fed water for Milkwood Farm

One of the most powerful concepts in permaculture for me is ‘keep the water high’. All water stored high in the landscape is potential energy, thanks in part to gravity. If your water is high, you can make that water available to everything below it in the landscape, via gravity feed and piping, with no energy spent on pumps. At all. Which makes for one resilient landscape.

So when it came to designing the rainwater harvesting for our drinking water at Milkwood Farm, we knew we wanted to store the water high. This way, if we didn’t have power for some reason, we would still have drinking water at our house, because we wouldn’t be relying on a pump to deliver the water to us. But we aren’t building our home on top of the hill – so how to get the water up there? Continue reading

Water Tank comparisons for drinking water: defining clean and green

All drinking water at Milkwood Farm comes from the sky. This means catchment and storage of drinking-quality water is a very big deal for us. And since we’ve got the opportunity to define the quality of our drinking water here (a luxury so many millions of people do not have), we’re determined to get it as healthy as we possibly can. Both for our family, and for this planet of ours.

Which led us to the seemingly mundane but actually quite complex task of selecting water tanks for drinking water. Which kind to go with? Plastic, aquaplate, cement or stainless steel? Continue reading


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