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  1. #1
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    Converting a swamp like area into natural permaculture like pond

    Hello again, I am stating a new thread and will keep updating it as i progress.
    some background first.

    The parcel of land i am developing is in doi saket, chiang mai. the size of the land is just over 15 rai of which 1.5 rai are an area which is all year round wet. there is a water reservoir just up hill and the ground water are at surface level at this area.

    there is also an obstructed channel that adds to the water stagnation.

    here is a google earth picture showing the rivers (blue) wet lend (green) and fall off water flow directions (red)



    here is a picture showing the water level in the dry season (march)



    I am thinking of turning it into a natural looking large pond that will occupy about half of the area, so the dirt we will dig up would use to fill in the other half.

    I would like to shape the land with minimum earth work as possible and pose no obstacles on the natural flow of water, and of course not creating floods/stagnation on the neighbors land.

    It would serve as
    1. recreational and aesthetic pond
    2. fire barrier from a downhill small teak forest
    3. fish pond

    there is enough free agriculture water from a nearby dam all year round so we wont use it as a water reservoir.

    after many hours on the drawing board here is the final design

    roughly 32 meters wide and 81 meters long, with a slop of 1 meters deep to every 3 meters. maximum depth is 3 meters. spill off to the river below



    the contractor estimate no more than 30,000 baht to dig it. estimated time no more than 5 days - calculated at digging 800 cubic meters / day with a small excavator and a 6 wheeler.

    at this stage i would appreciate comments on the design, i would also like to hear your experience with a similar projects .

    we expect to break ground on the 8th this month.

  2. #2
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    Good luck. I look forward to your updates.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by aircut
    1.5 rai are an area which is all year round wet.
    Leave it alone. You cannot change nature by trying to make it natural.

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    Chas nailed it, but ill watch for pics, good luck

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by chassamui View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by aircut
    1.5 rai are an area which is all year round wet.
    Leave it alone. You cannot change nature by trying to make it natural.
    If a Beaver dams up a stream and turns it into a small pond is that not natural?

    So whats the difference if it is a person that does it or a Beaver? They are both creatures of the natural world so anything they create would be natural would it not?
    I'm not saying it was Aliens, but it was Aliens!

  6. #6
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    Seems simple enough dig a big hole in the middle it will get deeper. Have an over flow at one end into the river.

    I think if all the land is yours you could extend the pond so that the water from the river flows into your pond and then back out again. Or have a large-ish 8' underground pipe that links the river with the pond. In when the pond is low out when the pond is high.
    Better to think inside the pub, than outside the box?
    I apologize if any offence was caused. unless it was intended.
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  7. #7
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    ^^ I think the reference may be to do with the title. If you already have a natural permaculture like a swamp then why do you want to destroy it to try to create a permaculture by building a pond?

    I don't know much about semi aquatic dam-building rodents - I not going to say 'I don't know much about beavers' on this forum as its...

    Doh, I've said it

    Anyway as far as I know beavers build dams as it creates a safe and pleasant place for them to live in, the environmental impact is I think of little consequence to them. If the OP wants to alter the land to create a safe and pleasant place for his use then all power to him. If he wants to minimise the effect on the surrounding environment then he's doing better than your average beaver.

    The thing is to take a natural environment then artificially change it does not make it as natural an environment as it was, which is I think where the other two were at.

    Moving from semantics to practicality - Aircut, my main concern would be that if you are changing the height of your land then you may run into issues with causing a change in water level you your neighbour's land. There will either be less water than there was, or more. Even with no change the neighbours may suspect that there is and start grinding their teeth about it.

    I'm assuming here that the 15 rai is the brown strip of land with the '120 mt' written on it and that the wet area spans three separate plots of land.

    Best advice I can think of would be to have a chat with the neighbours and see if they want water on their land or not. Then design your land excavation/fill accordingly.

  8. #8
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    A mosquito farm... nice

  9. #9
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    @VocalNeal - Yes, there will be a spill off to the river

    @Roobarb
    I'm assuming here that the 15 rai is the brown strip of land with the '120 mt' written on it and that the wet area spans three separate plots of land (snip) .... my main concern would be that if you are changing the height of your land then you may run into issues with causing a change in water level you your neighbour's land. There will either be less water than there was, or more. Even with no change the neighbours may suspect that there is and start grinding their teeth about it.
    Yes the 15 rai plot is shaded light brown
    neighbors, por luag and tesaban all approved of the plan
    The digup will not create obstructions to the natural flow of waters.

    @for the rest of you

    who believe that this is not a 'natural' thing to do, i want to say that wet lands like this are actually obstructed ponds. where the connection between the pond and the river got blocked from years of mud sediment accumulation . what we plan to do is to open the obstruction and remove the mud sediment. water will flow free from high to low (reads river) and the pond that used to be there will be rebuild and would attract wild life and plants.

    check out again the arial photo, there are square ponds at the same spot in all neighboring plots....our will just look more natural than a square one....

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    Quote Originally Posted by aircut
    neighbors, por luag and tesaban all approved of the plan The digup will not create obstructions to the natural flow of waters.
    Great stuff Aircut, good luck with it. Look forward to seeing the pics

  11. #11
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    Sounds good mate, will look forward to the ongoing pics

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by aircut View Post
    here is a picture showing the water level in the dry season (march)



    I am thinking of turning it into a natural looking large pond that will occupy about half of the area, so the dirt we will dig up would use to fill in the other half.

    I would like to shape the land with minimum earth work as possible and pose no obstacles on the natural flow of water, and of course not creating floods/stagnation on the neighbors land.

    It would serve as
    1. recreational and aesthetic pond
    2. fire barrier from a downhill small teak forest
    3. fish pond
    Wonderful idea and good luck

    Quote Originally Posted by aircut View Post
    after many hours on the drawing board here is the final design

    roughly 32 meters wide and 81 meters long, with a slop of 1 meters deep to every 3 meters. maximum depth is 3 meters. spill off to the river below

    Nice shape but I believe in the end you will have less curves.

    Quote Originally Posted by aircut View Post
    the contractor estimate no more than 30,000 baht to dig it. estimated time no more than 5 days - calculated at digging 800 cubic meters / day with a small excavator and a 6 wheeler.
    This might be difficult to accomplish with wet material and I hope you got the contractor to agree to level/grade the material that is dug. The progress pictures will be nice to see.
    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

  13. #13
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    We started the work. The first couple of days the excavator cleared the clogged stream, that according to the local residents was not cleaned for over 20 years.



    water filled in quickly and you could see how the wetland around is quickly drying out

    Next we surveyed the land, and used white gypsum powder and bamboo sticks to draw the shape of the proposed lake on the property. due to its quite large and natural shape we had to make sure that it looks good from all directions and make sense from a premaculture point of view.

    we did two test holes, that proved that the water source is coming from two sources. one is low underground water than are trapped between mud and gravel, and a dipper one at 3 meters that is actually cleaner underground water.

    the test holes filled with water withing an hour.

    we agreed with the contractor to separate different type of soil we get from the dig. good top soil, gravels, and mud will be placed on different areas of the property as they needed.

    gravels for roads, good soil for gardens and mud for property raised borders . i will post pictures as we go

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    Looks good, but how will you prevent fish swimming out of your pond, back into the river.

    I dug a pond, about 20x25 meters, 3 meters deep, lots and lots of fish. If we want to eat fish, just go fishing or take a net.

    With fish in pond you have no problem with mosquito's. we even have a few turtles live in it and ducks swim, looks very nice.
    If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard of Oz View Post
    Looks good, but how will you prevent fish swimming out of your pond, back into the river.

    I dug a pond, about 20x25 -meters, 3 meters deep, lots and lots of fish. If we want to eat fish, just go fishing or take a net.

    With fish in pond you have no problem with mosquito's. we even have a few turtles live in it and ducks swim, looks very nice.
    The pond is higher than the river. We will set up a sprigway to deal with overflow
    If some fish continue in their journey we are not too worry about

  16. #16
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    here is the 3 meters deep test hole full with water after 24 hours



    the top slippery layer of the wetland will be removed before we can dig in the pond


  17. #17
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    here is a zoom out view of the pond location. the borders of which are pointed with the white flags. the truck and tractors are creating an access road into the wetland so the equipment can access the wet lad and doing the digging



    another view of the pond borders mark by the white flags

  18. #18
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aircut View Post
    here is the 3 meters deep test hole full with water after 24 hours

    Quote Originally Posted by aircut View Post
    i would also like to hear your experience with a similar projects
    Just a suggestion.

    Rent yourself a pump.

  19. #19
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    Don't you have a government project in your area where they dig pools for 2000Baht + food for the workers? They dug a large (~100x50x4m) for my mother in law, we would have wanted them to do the same for our pool but that area is still flooded from the rainy season.

    Nice design by the way, I hope they can really make it like you've drawn!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koetjeka View Post
    Don't you have a government project in your area where they dig pools for 2000Baht + food for the workers? They dug a large (~100x50x4m) for my mother in law, we would have wanted them to do the same for our pool but that area is still flooded from the rainy season.

    Nice design by the way, I hope they can really make it like you've drawn!
    no, unfortunately the residents here has a all year around good supply of water, our issue is a clogged river that changed its course over the years and created a slippery wetland.

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    lucky us that earthworks are relatively cheap in thailand comparing to the west, but still we are looking at quite an investment clearing the wetland.

    digging the river proved somewhat un effective, because we had to dig it up according to the lands deeds and not the its current course. should we dig it as it flows, we commit the changes nature made into a legal fact and the land will turn into a public property.

    so we dig up the river as it shows on the department of lands survey documents, and created a series of canals to drain the stagnated water to their natural course.

    than we had to create an access road for the heavy equipment to be able to pass the slippery clay mud, the excavator removed the slippery top clay like mud, and the tractor and 6 wheeler compacted it to a temporary road.

    after a long day yesterday both the excavator and the truck can run along the long axis of the planned pond, and already cleared the top soil from half of the pond.

    fresh water are filling up quickly and we would need a pump to pump out the water as we dig deeper,
    the flow of water and the filling rates make us feel good that the location and method we we chose to solve the wetland problem is working. and we expect good continuous input of fresh water to the pond that will soon restore nature to its best. i know that the land looks bruised at the moment but nature will heal fast

    more update to come












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    just for orientation



    Black lines: property border
    Sky blue: Pond location
    Blue line: excavated river
    Brown line: Temporary access road for the heavy equipment
    Red lines: Water flow directions from a higher elevation water reservoir
    Yellow lines: temporary canals diged to drain off water inflow

  23. #23
    Pronce. PH said so AGAIN!
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    Put an airport on it, that was all the rage a few years back!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo View Post
    A mosquito farm... nice
    I doubt any Mosquito larva could survive if was stocked with fish , a good friend of mine only a cows call away from me did something very much the same ,and stocked in with 5,000 fingerlings of 4 different species ,it now looks absolutely beautiful with water lily's and round the edgings all sorts of aquatic plants , I have fished it more times than enough and never been troubled with Mossy's once .

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    a view to the planned pond location (marked by white flags), Heavy showers yesterday halted the works, The sun is shinning again today, we are moving forward


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