Our current period in the program is called “Making RVA climate compliant”.
We split our team, my group was responsible for setting up a new irrigation system for our garden and especially the tree nursery. This is part of a project to plant 6,000 soursop trees in St. Vincent. Currently, rainwater for the garden is collected in a pond. From there, it is pumped up using electricity from the grid. We wanted to change this by using a solar pump. Now, when the sun is shining, the water gets pumped into an elevated tank. From there, it can be used whenever it is needed just by the gravity and without any additional energy. This makes the garden more self sufficient and independent from fossil fuels.
The first step was the planning. We made a general concept where we wanted to install each component and measured the distances for the pipes. Then we prepared a shopping list for all the materials required. After this, we started to dig trenches to lay down the pipes. Another task was to fix the pond. Every time it had rained a lot, the pond overflowed and the soil around was flushed away. We installed a new overflow, put the soil back and planted vetiver grass to stabilise the soil.
A problem was finding a good tank with enough volume that fits on top of our existing water tower. After we had bought some tanks which were too large, we had to take a smaller tank than we originally wanted to use. After some weeks, the pump and the solar module arrived from the US.
We had no experience installing a system like this but fortunately Jesper was able to help us. We put the module on top of our garden shed and suspended the pump into the pond. The last step was to connect the pump both to the solar module and to our pipes. We were very happy when the pump worked on the first try. Additionally, we cleared our tree nursery and covered the ground with a plastic foil to keep weeds from growing again. Now, we are prepared to produce the 6,000 saplings.