A Dam Nuisance:

We have spent the last week or more trying to save one of our two dams. We had some sudden very heavy rain last week which broke our newly rebuilt bottom dam and threatened the spillway of the top dam (we worked for over a week in the summer building) and the integrity of the dam itself.

A number of stratagems have been implemented. If we can keep the overflow in the pipe and the pipe hanging on the wall until the flow slows to a trickle or stops in the spring/summer and the earth dries up enough to support large equipment we may yet save and repair it permanently. All the work we have carried out over the last ten days or so has been on very wet surfaces where every step bogs your foot and requires all your strength to pull your foot out and take another step. So it hasn’t been much fun.

Heavy rain last winter finally broke both dams so we spent nearly $10,000 and a lot of work repairing them last summer. Of course the earth really needed a couple of years to stabilise, regain a good grass cover & etc. Sadly this was not to be. We will be up for maybe another $5,000 of repairs this summer. All this so we can have a lovely garden. It hardly seems worth it! Well, all right, it is!

The latest stratagem is a high tensile chain up the middle of the pipes secured with Allthread to steel beams at each end. When we tension up the large nuts on each end it compresses the pipes together making them resist drooping etc. It is astonishing how much tension you can create with a shifting spanner on a ¾” HT thread. I have had three goes at different thickness beams at each end, all of which I have succeeded in bending. Don’t know my own strength I guess!

2015-10-28 11.47.11 comp

Top dam finally gave way last winter.

2016-05-31 10.29.04 comp

New Spillway overflowing.

2016-05-31 10.29.52 comp

Autumn: New dam full: lots of garden water here.

2016-07-08 11.15.24 comp

A huge rain event and earthquake moved the pipes and the spillway. Water burst through beneath the pipes and undermined the spillway. Insurance does not cover damage to farm dams.

Pipes bolted together and braced. Leaks fixed. Here’s hoping.

DSCN2215 comp

2 thoughts on “A Dam Nuisance:”

  1. I wish you all the best with keeping it held … and with getting a permanent (economical) solution when the wet weather turns to dry

    1. Thank you Jenny. The heavy rain yesterday morning had further undermined it – haven’t had a chance to check it this morning. I won’t be able to do anything more until the creek goes down again. Our chances of saving it are not great but it will be cheaper if we can! Cheers, Steve.

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