Swale Construction, harvesting water for a faster growing forage and fruit forests systems in Rakiraki, Fiji.

The first step in the design is deciding on the mainframe design, i.e Water, Access, Structures, where we decided how water is harvested, slowed downed, stored and used. After that we decided how the movement in the site will occur, through designing the best possible access roads for vehicles, people and animals, and followed that the decision and the assessment of where the best possible spots to position the structures are.

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Now that the mainframe design is complete, the work on the site started, and the first step was implementing the water harvesting and soakage system , the swale system, which is harvesting water runoff on the site, and also redirecting water runoff from 3 drains that surround the property that collect water from the neighbor’s property and the swales are soaking all the water underground.

The reasoning for that is that we are in a wet-dry tropical area, monsoonal wet for 3-4 months, and dry for the rest of the year, so we need to work on soaking as much water as we can underground when its in abundance, this water will be picked up by grasses, forage trees, and fruit trees and make use of it in the dry season since its positioned where the roots can tap into it easily.

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We are building a farm that has beef and dairy herds grazing systems, with a polyculture of grasses and forage trees growing together to be able to feed the animals without relying on importing any feed. To grow these in abundance even during the 8-9 months of dry season we need to be able to soak as much water as possible during the rainy season and that’s where swales dug on contour will help.

Food forests, a mix of fruit trees , shrubs, and vegetables growing in the understory accompanied with a diversity of nitrogen fixing support species will planted uphill from the swales, this will provide food, and fertility as it develops and all of that will be a soup of nutritious elements slowly soaking into the ground building up fertility that was lost during the years of sugar cane growing on this nice small piece of land, showing how agroecology and permaculture can replace degraded mono cultures.

 

 

 

 

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