The school garden is a little better today.
The watering system is working.
All thanks to Mr Richard Hutchinson, qualified plumber and father of Henry and Roy. I cannot imagine how much it would have cost us to employ someone of Richards skills but he gave us over 10 hours across 3 different days to help us get the watering system going.
Due to the changes in classrooms around the garden over the last few years we found that the pipes that conveyed high pressure water from mains and tank to the garden and the separate pipes that conveyed low pressure water to the sprinklers were all dead.
Repeated trenches had transected the pipes and as no water was running each damaged pipe was ignored. We ended up working in reverse to isolate leaks and cut pipes.
The present set up will be upgraded over time.
This article is to summarise the present situation as of the end of Feb 2017
The rainwater tank was moved over the summer of 2016-17
The pipe from the pump inside the tank is controlled by a tank diversion system inside the old shed behind the old toilet block beside the basketball courts.
The high pressure “blue” poly pipe was simply reconnected by the contractors. We have placed a T-Junction in this pipe right beside the old tank site; beside Mr Sean Griffins classroom.
This then bridges to the separate system that was in place when the old library was in place. In the following picture Henry is pointing to where that “patch” meets the old system.
This was where the old system had its own Davey Pump. The old pump has not been tested yet. From there the water runs to the 4 plus tank water taps in the garden by going under new classrooms and new concrete paths. We had to figure a way of doing this without disrupting all that.
From there we have trenched and reconnected to the existing sprinkler system.
That system was capped at several points to avoid the water running away to the transected pipes. We had to change all the sprinkler heads to a new “Hunter” system.
This system is presently working. The pump inside the rainwater tank is working BUT the controller for that pump inside the shed behind the toilet block is NOT working. It trips every time the pump comes on. No-one was aware of this until we figured it out because the controller turns of the pump and then uses mains water for the toilets. Because the rainwater WAS not being used anywhere else it was not obvious what was happening.
The fact that the tank water was not being used was made all the more obvious by the fact that the rainwater tank was nearly half full despite there being almost no rain since the tank was emptied and moved. The only way there could be any significant amount of water would be if the water was not being used all day everyday in the toilet block.
The present system will work fine for a while. It will be necessary to redesign it later when the garden starts getting more active but for now each bed AND the area around each bed gets adequate water nightly. Future systems are probably going to be controlled at the point of the taps in the garden. The older, far more complex and better system that we used to have which was destroyed during redevelopment. Thus if anyone asks; there is no remote control board. There is only the single point controlled at the tap in the garden beside the lemon tree.
The school leadership group has been made aware of the tank water controller problem and we will run on mains until we have this sorted out.
(Consent obtained for all photos. D. Lynch.)