The objective of this project was to install a passive, gravity-fed drip irrigation system in two of the covered growing structures at the farm. The water for this system would be captured and minimally filtered rainwater. Finca Luna Nueva Lodge could benefit in many respects by implementing a system that captures and utilizes rainwater. Rain is natural; a free resource that all can use. During this time, it is very important that societies globally understand the precious value of water and use it efficiently. According to the Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services partnership, “Despite the relative abundance of water resources in Costa Rica, water is not being used in a sustainable way. The degradation of watersheds (and consequently the coastal ecosystems) is getting worse in recent years” (Waves, 2014). By having a rainwater catchment system, Finca Luna Nueva Lodge is assuring that it can be self-sufficient while respecting water as a resource and consciously embracing its value and importance in the world.

In using this system, the Lodge will save money by reducing its dependence on the public water system. It will also reduce the quantity of time needed to irrigate the beds of the greenhouse, something that can be understood as another way to save money. Additionally, by using less public water, problems with unreliability will be avoided, as often (approximately 3 times in 2.5 months), the public water supply in San Carlos unexpectedly shuts down due to upstream leaks and breaks. This is a problem that cannot be anticipated, and often it is unknown when the problem will be fixed. Public water can also contain molecules that are undesirable to use on plants, specifically including chlorine. According to Save the Rain, an interactive web resource, 3.7 meters of rain falls annually in this region. By only using one side of the greenhouses present at the Farm, 379,600 liters of rain can be captured each year – the equivalent of using the bathroom 42,180 times (Save the Rain, 2014).

            In summary, Finca Luna Nueva Lodge, by using a system of rainwater catchment and distribution, will save money and time, have its own resource of water during scarcity, increase its sustainability and capacity to be self-sufficient, and create more consciousness in its employees and guests about the value of water and how to use it better.

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The Design:

Materials needed:

  • A 1,200 liter plastic tank
  • Paint, to protect the tank from the sun and ensure no algal growth
  • 3-meters of 2” PVC pip
  • 3 2” elbows
  • 25-meters of 1” polyethylene hose
  • 30-meters of ¾” polyethylene hose
  • 2 rolls of 500-meter 0.5” tape hose with holes for drip irrigation
  • 24 caps for ¾” hoses
  • 12 tee-junctions for ¾” hose
  • 1 2” tee-junction
  • 36 connectors for 0.5” tape hose
  • 1 cap for 1” hose
  • 1 PVC gravity filter of 2”
  • Window screen to act as a filter between the gutters and the tank opening
  • Sealing glue to prevent leakage from connections, application as necessary

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 3.42.03 PM*Conversion of 550 Costa Rican colones to 1 U.S. dollar (this fluctuates often)

 

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Rain Water Catchment Installation, Finca Luna Nueva Lodge, August 2015

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