The story begins here...
This is where our water is born - blessed by the mountain in which it has rested for 1000's of years.
(A geologist claims the water in Mt Clark to be 100's of 1000's of years old - the estimated reservoir is in
the order of some billion litres). I should mention that this phantastic reserve is being threatened by
imminent logging of the mountain's Forest (anno 1999).
The spring surfaces in this small natural pond - in which I installed a 5 litre ceramic garden pot.
The upper edge of the pot determines to which level the pond can be drained. I decided that 20 mm
below its natural level would have a minimal impact on the environment. This was 15 years ago.
All has been well so far. A fly-screen mesh prevents coarse litter entering the pot. Attached to the bottom
is a 20 mm black polyethylene pipe with brass & copper
The first stage of water cleaning. This 50 litre drum acts as a
To the left is a small volume to calm the flow coming from the inlet. Some sediment drops here.
At the bottom of the tank is more room. A tap allows drainage once every 2 years. The 2 outlets
on the right are about 5 cm apart in hight.
The outlet pipes allow trapped air to escape and prevent suction from disturbing the flow pattern inside
settling tank. Air poses a problem to the flow inside long supply lines. Great care and effort has been
invested in this aspect. The bottom pipe has the priority - it feeds our pump. The top pipe lets water flow
to the neighbour's reservoir.
The mechanical filter sits in a more pressurised region (2 - 3 m drop) to allow effective flushing
every 6 months. This is the high maintenance part.
Our intrusion has been accepted by the forest!
My neighbour has joined me some years ago. Based on his idea we developed the RFE -
the "Ralph Flow Enhancer". It is an ingenious air trap. My finger presses down onto the stem of a
tyre valve which has a cork float attached - if the water level is displaced downward
by accumulating air, the cork sinks, the valve opens, the air
The maintenance track - 1 km through dense Tasmanian scrub. Once cleared, the animals
appreciate it and help to keep it open. Thanks Madam Wallaby and Mister Wombat!
It is the middle of winter here. Tasmania is a beautiful
The water arrives at the pumping station. This is the pump's header reservoir. Made from large ceramic
drain pipe it holds about 20 litres. I considered all the materials that I used - non or low corrosive metals,
earthen ware and polyethylene piping (the concession to using all natural things, but it's no hazard).
From the header it goes downhill! The 1/2 inch steel pipe is already part of the pump engine.
It needs to be steel to allow for the very high pressure peaks to be effective.
The drop is about 5 metres in height.
The Adrian Pump. This device is my pride and joy. A combination of a brilliant principle
developed by the Freres Montgolfiers in France in the 17th century, a few alterations to standard
plumbing fittings and some amount of engineering brain "schmalz" (which improved the
65% efficiency of the Montgolfiers design to an amazing 95 - 97 %) and here it is:
ticking away since 1985 and delivering 200 - 300 litres a day...with the reliability of
a human heart. The blue container collects the considerable overflow and feeds my neighbour's
The birds of the forest, hopefully, have grown used to the constant ticking of the pump.
Not an unpleasant sound to human ears by the way.
500 m away and 60 m higher up the mountain. From the left the precious spring water enters
a 25 litre polyethylene buffer container and then overflows through the non return air sniffer (!)
into the 4000 litre holding tank.
This container serves an important purpose - at any time the water inside is fresh
as it gets replaced about 10 times a day! Our drinking water comes from here.
Downhill again - getting closer to the final destination.
The Golden Tap is paled by the Crystal that flows out of it!
The photos were taken with an Agfa ephoto 300 in 1999.
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