Water collecting grid under the main gate

May 1, 2020

Last year Ondrej had make a super sturdy iron grid for under the main gate to collect rainwater. Outside the gate an asphalt road runs with inclination up to a few houses. This road is a few hundred meter long, four meter wide. When it rains most of the water goes through our main gate and then further down. This can be so much water if it pours down from heaven that a small river is created. Naturally it follows the paths on our land and eventually goes out through the gate down near the vineyard.

I love water
Like the King of The Netherlands I have a passion for water. Water is essential for live on earth. You can split it into oxygen which we need to breath and hydrogen - the purest, cleanest and most abundant fuel you can think of. Our body consists for 60% of water and over 70% of the surface of the earth consists of water. We all should love and embrace water, we are water and to love others you should first love yourself, right?

Rainfall on Mallorca
Mallorca is relatively dry and the annual rainfall varies from 350 in what they call the 'melting pot of Mallorca' near Lluc Major to 1500 mm in certain parts of the Tramuntana mountains. Here in Selva we are on the foot of the Tramuntana and we should have around 500 mm per year, although it's quite erratic. A few years back we had a very dry year but the last years have been quite wet. Still it is normal to be almost completely dry in July and August. This dry period determines greatly the vegetation on the island as many plants, shrubs and trees can simply not survive such a long period of drought. The intensity of the rain can be immense with up to 2 mm of rain in just 1 minute. Even worse happened two years ago on the other side of the island, resulting in a catastrophe killing 12 people as the water raised up to 6 meter in a valley where 3 streams come together. This could never happen here, but close by in Mancor de la Valle (valle = valley), it could happen as well and in Caimari - 2 km from Selva.

The lake
Every time it rains hard and I see this river of water coming in from under the gate, the future lake comes to mind. There is no lake yet, it's a lake in the making. The idea came up soon after we bought La Mina San Cayetano and many hundreds of hours have been spent there already by me, volunteers, Pepe and Ondrej. It's still far from finished, but it's becoming more and more a lake. Hundreds of cubic meters of rock needs to be removed which take time and we need to do something with all the rocks, which we use for building the natural walls.
The water coming in through the main gate will be routed to the lake through 16 diameter corrugated tubing. I guess the total distance is about 300 meter. The first 20 meters has been done now, so another 280 meters to go. If we collect all water from all the roofs and terraces plus the water coming in through the main gate we should be able to gather 1500 cubic meter of water per year, which is about the volume of water I want in the lake.
This water is without any limestone and therefor ideal for being used in our dripping irrigation systems, which otherwise would be clogged with limestone within a year. Even if we would add some water from the mine (which does contain limestone), the problems would be reduced greatly.

Construction of the concrete gutter
The steel grid is 4 meter long and 40 cm wide and I was looking for prefabricated U-shaped concrete blocks. These do exist but after a long search on the internet I could not find any on Mallorca. So I needed to make a custom made form of plywood and pour concrete around it. The form could not be made in one piece as the grid consists of 3 parts and in between the first/second and second/third are steel crossbars. So a single form would not be possible as you would not be able to remove it after the concrete has cured. So I made 3 forms, a hole in the middle for a 90 degrees PVC connection which connects to the tube. Making forms is fun, it's the nice work, but it takes time. It took me a full day to make it and what a pity that we will most probably use it just 1 time.

Concrete pouring
6 Concrete mixers of 300 liter each were needed to fill around the form and the 20 meter of 16 cm tube. So 1800 liter of concrete, weight about 4000 kg. We did it together, Ans and myself. We're a good team, we can do anything. Of course we had the help of our big machines: Wacker excavator to load concrete mix in the dumper, which we drove to the worksite, loaded it in the concrete mixer on the Manitou, added 3 bags of cement per load and 1.5 liter of a milky substance which makes the concrete waterproof and drove the Manitou as close as possible to the place where we needed concrete. We started 13:00 hours and were ready just after 18:00.

Next projects
We really need to cover the floor heating tubing in the former coal storage building with concrete so we can use it, so this will be high on the agenda. We need a 3rd person for this and Piet - Dutch friend who lives in Binissalem - has offered his help. So hopefully within a few weeks we will start with this. And around our house we need to finish it, laying tiles on the terrace, place wooden beams for the extension of the terrace, make the roof and repair the plastering.

The restrictions are slowly being lifted in 5 phases. Children are already allowed on the streets, beaches are being opened, small shops will be opened, restaurants can accept customers but only on a terrace and so on. The rules are much too complicated, not workable, typical Spain perhaps. Looking at the number of new infections and deaths you can clearly see a decline, so hopefully it will be all normal again.

Take care and stay healthy.
Ans, Mark & Borre