HARVESTING Project selected for ‘Get Involved’ competition
A Cavan Town estate is developing water harvesting systems for use by its residents to minimise water charges for all 52 households. The project by the dynamic residents of Kilnavara Heights has been chosen as this year’s entry for The Anglo-Celt for the Get Involved awards, sponsored by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and hosted by Local Ireland, the umbrella group for local newspapers in Ireland.
Entered under the ‘water category’ of this year’s awards, the collected rainwater is being used for watering flowers in the estate and general water requirements.
Two representatives of the residents, Mary McKiernan and Gabriel Cooney, took The Celt on a guided tour of the water harvesting facilities in the estate and explained that the success of the initiative was down to the great community spirit and teamwork in the area.
Gabriel said they procured the tanks at low cost and used spare spouting to catch the roof water on their shed. “We cut an accurate hole in the top of the tanks to facilitate the entry of the down spouting and fitted the taps on the bottom of the tanks,” he explained.
Gabriel pointed out that some of the barrels are placed on a platform on their side, while others have been installed in an upright position to catch the roof water off sheds beside the home in the area.
One of the large communal tanks has been strategically placed so that everyone in the estate can have access to it, Gabriel further explained. Laurel plants are growing in close proximity and the tank itself has been covered over in a camouflage leaf decorated veil, so that it blends in with the greenery.
Gabriel says it would fill a bucket in less than 10 seconds and is great to fill all the watering cans and means a few people can water the plants in the entire estate in a short time. “It works very well and it only takes a couple of night’s rain to fill it,” he remarked.
One of the more innovative initiatives is the collection of ground drainage water from a green area into a large 400 gallon green tank, which is partially submerged into the ground in close proximity to the boundary hedge at the road, thus allowing a tap to be placed the other side of the hedge, to facilitate watering of flowers and plants along the road at the main entrance to the estate.
“Myself, P.J. Smith and Michael Lyons worked on this project. We tapped into the ground water pipes that are draining the green area, which has an inline on it. The idea came up at a general meeting around the time the water charges were being talked about,” .
Gabriel explained that the tank had to be carefully positioned, so that the gravity flow would go towards the road – we need the pressure of water, so that an outlet pipe and tap could be fitted on a post in the middle of the plant bed.
“We also had to submerge the tank deep enough in the ground so that the trapped water from the drainage pipes in the ground would go down into the tank,” he further outlined.
The pipe going to the tank is linked to a manhole in the green area and the drainage pipes are also merged into the manhole and a drainage pipe is also fitted, which runs off to the right hand side.
“We tapped into the drainage pipes as they came around the green area in a bend. Water never disappeared quickly enough there and the ground was always wet,” detailed Gabriel Cooney.
The tank never overflows – it works on the principle that, when the tank is full, the backward pressure drives the water down the drainage pipe. When the pipe is full going to the tank, the water is successfully driven down the drainage pipe.
They also got whiskey barrels and cut them in half with a chainsaw and have planted flowers in them along the estate.
Mary McKiernan said the committee have an AGM each year and also hold regular meetings throughout the year. “The Spring Clean takes place in March or April and we also have another clean-up in June or July and there is a further one in September prior to the Estate Awards.
“We have won the Best Private Estate for a few years and best litter free estate,” she said.
Other sustainable projects
Gabriel also revealed that the estate also has installed a communal composter for vegetable peelings and the grass off the lawns etc. A lot of residents are using it and it is turned over frequently and the compost produced was used in the flower barrels.
A ‘Bug Hotel’ was also opened on the estate for the enjoyment and education of local children.
The committee meet regularly to organise the upkeep of the estate and its facilities and also to identify further improvements. The Anglo-Celt is working with them to deliver those improvements over the course of the ‘Get Involved’ competition.
Meet the committee
Those included in the working committee include Michael and Monica Lyons, Mary McKiernan, Gabriel Cooney, P.J. Smith, Robbie Johnston, Fiona Duffy, Dolores McCaffrey and Paddy Corrigan.