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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Disappointed, but not surprised

Since I didn't get finished pumping until nearly 1 AM this morning, I couldn't get a very accurate measurement at 8 AM. However, I can say the stucco tank is losing at least an inch per day, and probably 1½" per day, but not more. That's the same as it lost last year. The tank is just a bit too porous, I fear. This winter I'll put another coat of Drylok on the bad wall. It was supposed to have two coats to begin with but I wasn't physically able to do that. Just one coat on the whole tank cost over $2,000. And hopefully I'll reinforce that worst spot with another wall of concrete.

But to put this leak into perspective, assuming it's the same as last year, I was desperate for water when I got some rain this April. I thought it would tide me over until rainy season, but that didn't happen for me until four more months of record heat and no rain. So I can expect lean, rationing times unless the oasis has a normal fall and winter. Having said that, by pumping the tank out and saving half an inch per day, I'm saving over a foot per month. In 3 months, that's 3 feet. Very significant in a tank that's 8 feet deep. Without doing that I had little hope of making it until the next rain. In the past, the tanks have filled  at one time or another in almost every month. For example, one year they filled in January. So there's always hope. It's important to do everything I can to save water. It's as likely as not that I won't get any more runoff until next summer.

Here is the big piece of wall that flaked off that was covering the hole I photographed (see post of Aug 24th). It appears that there is nothing substantial holding the coating and patching to the wall. The wall is deteriorated. Likely a poor cement mixture and not thick enough in that area. Since I built it all with my gloved hands, one handful at a time, it's easy to see how I might have gotten careless in one area. Tank walls aren't forgiving. I'm determined to build a new wall inside that bad area.


WOW! I went back and read my posts from last July. Seems the tank leaked 2" per day (same as this year), I pumped it out and patched it with hydraulic patch (same as this year), then when I refilled it, it leaked 1" per day. I had totally forgotten all that. Good thing I blog. As I recall, I didn't have enough water in the dirt tanks to totally refill it. This year I did, plus it's August and not July. So I should be in better shape this year, unless the leak is greater than it was last year. (Another April rain next year is highly unlikely.) And there's still water in the one dirt tank that holds the best, so I can top off the stucco tank in a week or two. Every little bit helps.

 Last year I did catch some runoff in the upper dirt tank in early October, but not enough to top off the stucco tank. Surely I'll get more rain this year. If I do, and if I can keep the stucco tank topped off until November or December, I'll be in good shape in the spring. It's so wonderful to be able to water adequately at the time things are wanting to put on new growth. I think my late monsoon this year means I won't have good odes and butterflies anymore this year. We'll see. Hope I'm wrong.

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