Learning about efficient water management

March 24, 2020

Water ponds can play an important role in the conservation of biodiversity and some threatened species

 

With the aim of learning about sustainable water management, AlVelAl has held a water management workshop that has provided information about the operation and creation of ponds, a technique that will allow us to improve the environment and landscape, but also to manage rainwater on our farms.

This workshop, celebrated within the framework of the Destination AlVelAl project that we are carrying out in collaboration with TUI Care Foundation, has been given by Agustín Bermejo, forestry technical engineer, technical director of Monte Vivo. A workshop in which the participants have been able to learn how to make the necessary calculations for designing a pond, find out how the water moves, determine the runoff and erosion, and evaluate the costs and benefits of the different techniques and infrastructures. In a dynamic way, all the participant have been able to obtain their own results through the formulations provided by the engineer, creating a very rich debate with a lot of participation and sharing of experiences.

In the afternoon, the realization of a pond with machinery, has allowed to see the different techniques and infrastructures that can be done in the farms in an efficient way. In a workshop where it has been seen from the design and details before making the work, until its practical implementation.

Knowledge

Various factors and characteristics of the terrain where the pond will be located must be considered. Both the topography and the impermeability of the terrain are essential, factors which will determine the type, size and cost of the pond.

Spending time on the proper design of a pond is fundamental to optimizing its management and multiplying its benefits, in terms of reduced operating costs and environmental improvement, both of which are compatible.

Environmental adaptation consists, in some way, of giving a controlled role to natural processes, obtaining in exchange multiple advantages such as less maintenance, integration into the landscape and an increase in biodiversity.

"The land is what dictates where we are going to build the pond, but we can also choose where it is the best place for various reasons (pipes, roads, etc)," says Bermejo.

Preparations for the raft

In the preparations for the creation of a pond, it is crucial to know how the water moves, so knowing the contour line of the terrain will help us locate the best place.
The contour line, which joins points that are all at the same level, can be achieved with topographic maps that help us calculate the precise place to make the pond.

Knowing these contours, from highest to lowest level, we can identify the direction in which the water is running, in other words, to know the path of the water.
It is good to determine the concave and convex shapes of the curves in order to determine where the slope line is located and to know what area of land is going to divert the water to the point of interest, which will help us to draw a basin that is going to pour to our point of interest to collect the water.

This is where erosion and sedimentation control comes into play: mainly caused by the deforestation of the basin and the use of bad practices. In addition to affecting the quality of the water, it can fill up the basin in a short period of time, making its restoration very costly.

Factors to take into account

When making a ponds against erosion, a very important factor is to know what kind of soil we are going to work on. Through the granulometric classification or granulometry, we determine the texture of the soil, which indicates the relative content of particles of different sizes, such as sand, silt and clay in the soil. The texture has to do with the ease with which the soil can be worked, the amount of water and air it retains and the speed with which the water penetrates the soil and passes through it.
Knowing the amount of each element present in the soil gives us information when making a pond, especially taking into account its permeability, as well as other characteristics.

Although we are making calculations, Agustín comments that "it is very difficult to get exact values, we are playing with scales of values and with approximate numbers".


Another of the factors involved in making the pond is the slope, which is especially important for the vegetation, since the species are adapted to operate within specific ranges of depth. There are emerging plants, others that live on the bottom and also floating plants. Similarly, the birdlife has specialised by designing a wide variety of beaks and legs that adapt to this depth gradient. If the slopes are gentle, there will be more opportunities for different species to establish themselves and greater biodiversity.

During the practical part of the workshop, the participants were able to see and participate in the process of creating a pond with machinery and the different techniques and infrastructures that can be done. It was very interesting for the participants to put into practice everything they had learned, offering a very a clear perspective on water management through ponds and their benefits.

Destination AlVelAl
The water management workshop is held in the framework of the Destination AlVelAl project that we carry out with TUI Care Foundation. A workshop for which we have also counted with the GDR Altiplano de Granada and European Funds through the Leader programme; as well as the collaboration of the Baza town council which has left us the facilities of the Archaeological Museum.

Destination AlVelAl is a holistic project that brings together agriculture and livestock, tourism and culture; with the aim of connecting the agri-food sector of the AlVelAl territory with the tourist centres of the Spanish east coast through short marketing channels that generate greater income for farmers and livestock breeders.

There are two challenges facing the territory: climate change and depopulation. In order to to stop the depopulation, it is necessary to increase the income of the family economy and demonstrate that a prosperous territory with opportunities is possible.

In this sense, Destination AlVelAl is working on three aspects: the marketing of products from ecological and regenerative agriculture of soil and landscape, the promotion and visibility of local products in the restaurants of the territory and a responsible tourism interested in knowing a way of producing sustainable and respectful with its environment.

To this end, organic and regenerative agriculture is promoted through technical advice and theoretical and practical agricultural and gastronomic workshops, restaurants are advised on the use of local produce and how to give visibility and value to their producers, adding value to dishes and supporting the local economy. And visits are organised for small groups of TUI tourists interested in sustainability and the environment, who visit regenerative agriculture farms to get to know this production system.


A project that aims to generate a positive impact on the AlVelAl territory through the agricultural and gastronomic sectors.
 

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