[Homestead] Ram pump rules of thumb
billj at harborside.com
Sat Sep 2 18:48:27 EDT 2006
Clansgian at wmconnect.com wrote:
>In the mean time, the dry took its toll on the creek. It was still flowing
>but not enough to operate a RAM pump.
This is another reason to have a holding tank to feed into the downpipe
of a ram pump, besides excluding sediment and bubbles. You can save up
a day's water and just pump it once a day to the main gravity-feed
storage tank. This siphon stage requires a small vertical drop of its
own, so in extreme cases like ours, where there is barely three feet of
vertical drop, a very shallow holding tank is in order, so as to not
take up much of the vertical drop (fortunately the problem I mentioned
previously about having too slow a trickle through the downpipe isn't
likely to happen with piping of at least 1/2", so nearly always the
holding tank can be just inches tall).
We have a plan to siphon water a short distance over to a small holding
tank, from which the downpipe will angle downhill about 100' to the ram
pump. It's no longer necessary for us to have a _large_ holding tank
just to run the ram pump, since it's now just a winter project, but
there are too many obstructions right near the water source, and the
downpipe should not curve.
For those blessed with hilly terrain, the bottom of a storage tank can
easily be higher than the destination of the water, in many cases, so
just siphoning works for me. For those with level ground, a small bilge
pump from the marine supply will pump even dirty water on 12V from a
reasonably small solar panel (suitable for immediate, two-fisted
watering). I'm considering just digging round pits in the ground and
lining them with ordinary greenhouse plastic film, which I find
incredibly durable (when holey and scratched, the remains still function
as shade cloth for plants).
It may be a little difficult to have a below-ground tank feed a ram
pump, since it's not convenient to tap from the side. But you can just
siphon (on a hill, which we can assume exists, if you're considering a
ram) to a tiny intermediate tank close by, and let the downpipe take off
from there. (Actually, the more little holding tanks there are between
the source and the ram, the less sediment will enter it.)
I've decided on a 32' x 16' x 4' pond in the low spot where nettle now
grows. I don't think I'll let the geese in, though, if it's supposed to
water the garden, but keep it covered. They appreciate even a small
pond, and I can still siphon their waste water to real water-lovers
downhill from there, like peaches, or use the bilge pump to move the
water uphill. It's the same amount of water either way, so why not
arrange things so that the largest pond stays clean? I've worked out
the details, and our pond should provide enough water to cover 1500 sq.
ft. of beds for the summer.
S. Oregon coast
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