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Waterworld PDF
Sunday, 27 March 2011 00:00

Kevin Costner’s movie extravaganza is nothing compared to our water world – our back garden. Shortly after moving to our finca five weeks ago we realised a large part of the back garden was soaking wet. Then we had torrential rain for over a week which left half of said garden waterlogged – about 2,000 square metres!

We investigated the next-door field, which also belongs to us, and unearthed – literally – an old system of albercas and acequias designed to distribute water for irrigation from a spring higher up the hill to the local neighbourhood. It was neglected, totally overgrown and the pipes were blocked. Small wonder then that the continually running water from the spring had to find somewhere else to flow and so had created several small streams heading downhill - mostly in the direction of our garden.

The alberca, a concrete water tank designed to hold about 40 cubic metres of water, was empty – correction, it was about 10 cm deep in earth and sediment that had collected over the years and was now a mass of weeds. My stepson and I spent half a day clearing this and discovered the inlet pipe was blocked. Once we’d freed this, water began to flow into it from a pozo around 20 metres higher up the field, and by the following day the alberca was full and the water was flowing via underground pipe to another chamber 20 metres further down and then to another just near our garden fence. From there it was just spilling into the garden.

To solve the problem we built our own little stream alongside the edge of the lawn, which flows into the main arroyo at the back of our site and then further on down into the river Guadalcobacín. Within half an hour of completing the stream, the standing water and pools in the flower beds had subsided and, just three days later, it was dry enough to mow for the first time.

We still need to investigate why water is overflowing at the bottom chamber, but for the moment the sound of a gurgling brook flowing through our garden is a very pleasant one indeed, added to the birdsong, the cluck of chickens and the barking of distant dogs … and the noise of trains passing on the nearby Ronda to Algeciras railway line and the lengthy practise sessions of the Spanish Foreign Legion band at the barracks across the way, but Spanish noise is the subject of another article at some time in the future …

© Paul Whitelock

Tags:  garden, finca, alberca, acequia, irrigation, pozo, arroyo, Guadalcobacín, Spanish Foreign Legion, paul whitelock,


Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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