You never saw two people more excited about a hole in the dirt.
We have been talking about creating ponds in the farm ever since the beginning. And it’s happening NOW!
The hole in the photo is a carabao wallow or tubog. Carabaos are surprisingly good at making these wallowing holes. The holes stay moist throughout the year, even when it hasn’t rained. For a carabao, hole-building is more than just a nifty skill. It’s a matter of life or death! They always need to be near water and quickly die when overheated.
The carabao hole looked like a great place to start. It is in a low spot. The area around it slopes gently down towards the hole. The slopes will serve as a catchment area that will funnel rainwater into the pond. All we need to do is dig!
We wanted a pond that would recharge the water table by holding the rainwater that usually just quickly drains off the land. When you maximize the time that the rainwater stays on the land, you allow the water to become available to the plants and animals in the area. You will turbo charge the ecosystem!
To do this, you need a natural pond that doesn’t have a plastic liner. The good news for us is we happen to have the perfect type of bedrock to support a natural pond! Its Volcanic Tuff Breccia with smectite and goethite matrix. The original material was ejected from a nearby volcano and altered into an impermeable bedrock that is better than cement because it will not crack. If it does crack, it will heal itself. Smectite and goethite are types of clay.
Tonji is the pond designer. He plans to make several ponds in different spots around the property. Pond #1 is the experimental pond that will tell us how much water a pond can collect, how long before it dries up, and how the pond contour holds up. He said the cost of using heavy equipment and digging it manually would be almost the same. Manual digging will take a lot longer, but we have enough time to finish before rainy season starts. We also get to employ some of the farmers who don’t have work during summer.
Here are some helpful pond building links:
This is an inspiring documentary about a village in India that was so dry that all their water had to be brought in by train from another area. Their deep wells had dried up. Then one man was inspired to build a pond. He was able to collect so much water that he was able to irrigate his crops and double his harvests. The rest of the village followed suit and ended up transforming the entire area. Water flowed once more from dried up deep wells. Dry, dusty surroundings turned lush and green. New species of birds appeared.
This is a Pond Creation Tool Kit with lots of helpful hints and inspiring pictures.