Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stocking up on sandbags.

Around here some locations flood every year.  In fact, the largest lake in the state, Lake Tulare, exists only during a winter of heavy rainfall.  Then the lake has the ability to cover over 600 square miles!  Fortunately this is expected and the farmland is planted with crops that can withstand the water.  Almost yearly damaging flooding occurs in areas where water doesn’t run off into storm drains or where the ground is so saturated that it just pools. 

The fire stations usually have a pile of sand and the bags.  All you have to do is shovel the sand into the bags and take them home.  If you can’t shovel the sand, like I can’t with my arm in a sling, the firefighters will shovel it for you and load it into your vehicle.  It’s an easy way to protect your property.  Unfortunately, the sandbags deteriorate so you can’t reuse them year after year.  You have to get new sandbags each winter.  If it was me, I’d put the sand into the garden after using them for holding back the water.  Our soil is clay and could use the additional sand. 

People were interviewed on the local news about picking up sandbags.  One woman complained that the sandbags don’t work.   She won’t take advantage of the free (your tax dollars at work) sandbags even though she lives in a flood prone area.  Why?  When the water runs off her roof it gets trapped between the sandbag and her house.  She is incorrectly placing the sandbags but would rather put up with the damage then protect herself.  In the end the fire department came and pumped out much of the standing water to help alleviate the flood. 

I noticed that I have standing water right next to the house during some of these downpours that hasn’t occurred in the past.  We dug out some plants near the house a couple of months ago and this is the cause of it.  It’s not flooding the house but it isn’t good for the siding.  I’m going to be putting rain gutters up this spring (doesn’t help right now though but my one arm just isn’t going to be able to do it!).  If rain water was flooding the house I certainly wouldn’t do nothing and expect the fire department to bail me out (pun intended) or the insurance to pay for the repairs.  I’d take some tarps and use them to redirect the water if I didn’t have sandbags or I’d get out a shovel and pile soil higher next to the house. 

Having a 55 gallon rain barrel wouldn’t help.  In this area of my house about 500 square feet is draining off the roof.  If we get an inch of rain that would mean 300 gallons of water.  I’m trying to figure out how much to capture and whether it would stay stored in that spot or moved to a larger tank.  I have a cement pad next to the house that is used for a patio area for the trailer.  I have plenty of room to put a one thousand gallon water storage tank there and still have space for the patio.  I’m still thinking of putting a 10,000+ gallon tank out at the barn to capture rain coming off the barn.  A years worth of rain will fill about 15,000 gallons off the barn alone so I wouldn’t need to move water from near the house out to the barn tank.  Perhaps a tank in the front pasture to take care of the watering of those fruit trees (and for emergency drinking water)? 

Somewhere between one and five thousand dollars are going to be available this year so I will do something.    Lots of decisions still to make. 

1 comment:

  1. Water and the Valley. Either you have too little or too much. We have 4 55 gallon barrels and could use many more. The water won't be used until later and there is no where to store this current rain. I'm with you, need a bigger tank.

    It amazes me sometimes when people don't realize that an unbreakable rule of nature is that water will always move downhill, and if you put something in the way the water will backup against said thing.