Harvesting Stream Water

Harvesting Stream Water


Markerbuoy: Hey, everyone. Markerbuoy here.
I’m on Gilford Island, way up the north end of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. I’m
with [0:08]. We have hiked up in a stream bed here to find the source of the water for
the small community that stands [0:20] from here. We’re definitely off grid here. We’re
way off grid. We’re currently in a second growth forest. We’re going to show you the
pick-up for the three-inch pipe that turns into a two-inch pipe further downstream. Then
we’re going to show you the various ways that the water is distributed. This stream is the
sole water source for drinking and bathing water and laundry, etc. We just turned off the main [0:56] valve in
order to do a bit of maintenance downstream. That’s been completed. We’re going to turn
the valve back on. We give the intake filter a good clean because it’s clogged up quite
often in the summer with algae and other particulate matter. There’s no maintenance free [1:19]
system available. Even given the certification of this system, still maintenance needs to
be done every two days all year long. [music] Markerbouy: You have to come up here every
two days after. Is that right? Zephyr: Yes. We just come here. Markerbouy: More, let’s say, in the summer
than in the winter? Zephyr: Yes, especially when it’s sunny. We
have to clean it more often because the algae grows. Markerbouy: Is this the only filter on the
intake end of the pipe? Zephyr: Yes. Markerbouy: This is it? Zephyr: Yeah. Markerbouy: Essentially, the water flows over
the top of the filter, and the water that makes it through… Zephyr: They’re shearing it off. These are
all filtered downwards to these little metal slits. Markerbouy: They’re grabbing the water as
it flows across. Zephyr: Exactly. Markerbouy: But causing the particulate matter
to flow over the top. Zephyr: Yeah. Being so fine. Markerbouy: But it’s not quite good enough
to have the algae get caught? Zephyr: Yeah. It’s caught [2:29]. Markerbouy: It always amazes me that even
with thousands of dollars the system obviously costs – the cost of the pipe alone… there
is no maintenance free. You’re still constantly watching the system. Zephyr: Yeah. Sometimes we are better than
others and we have less users. Markerbouy: So now we turn the water back
on. Zephyr: Water back on for the rest of the
system. Markerbouy: I don’t know what… Zephyr: See? Markerbouy: Oh. Sure. Oh, that’s amazing. Zephyr: [3:07] Markerbouy: So it’s grabbing most… Zephyr: It’s grabbing a lot of it. Markerbouy: Just about all of that water that
was going over the filter is now falling through the filter and into the pipe and down to the
residences. Zephyr: Yeah. Other times a year, we’d be
in the stream so it’s hard to reach this in the fall if you need to do maintenance, or
the winter. Markerbouy: But you just lean over and stick
your hand in the water? Zephyr: Yeah. Markerbouy: I can see it. One of the questions
I know you folks are going to be asking me is how do we know that this water is pure
enough to drink? Because remarkably, there’s no chlorination involved here. We’ve got a
free-flowing stream that runs year round, and the folks who access this water drink
it straight. They use it for cooking drinking water – you name it. The recommendation, of
course, is that you boil the water just to make sure that everything is… all the pathogens
are killed off. But that is time-consuming and it turns out to be unnecessary in this
case. This water, while it may be murky from time to time, is proven pure enough to drink
year round for many years. You will notice that this water has a very
slight yellow tinge to it. This is caused by the tannins in the cedar trees. It’s perfectly
safe to drink. In fact, it probably adds a lot of vitamins and minerals to your water
supply. We’re just heading downhill now. We’re still
on the three-inch portion of the line, but halfway down the line turns into a two-inch
line. We wind up with about 80 pounds pressure at the bottom. The total length of the line,
the three-inch and the two-inch combined, is about one kilometer. What we have here is a valve that Zephyr is
going to inspect. Now that the filter, the head end of the line, is clear, we have water
reentering the line. We just want to check that we’ve got positive airflow which indicates
that the water is coming into the line. Zephyr: Yeah. When it’s all full, there will
be water coming out too. [whooshing sound] Markerbouy: Quite a difference on the way
up. We have nothing. Wow. Zephyr: I’m going to release it to the air. Markerbuoy: Big old cedar stump behind me
here. Eight feet in diameter at the base there, complete with the old springboard notches.
Probably fell about a hundred years ago. There’s a bunch of points like this along
the pipe where we can see if we’ve got a full pipe of water. Zephyr is just bleeding off
the water there and, presto, the pipe is full. Zephyr: Right here anyway. Markerbouy: Right here at this point. There’s
the old dipsy doodles in the pipe, so there will be air pockets and parts of the pipe
that are full, and everything in between. Even, again, given the sophistication of the
system, it still needs tending from day to day. The person, Zephyr usually, who tends
it has to have a feel for how the system works in order to keep everything running smoothly. [6:30] attached to the top of the valve here
is a one-way air outlet valve. A number of these were installed when the system was built,
but they’ve all failed since. So in most cases, the valve has been removed and we’re just
down to a regular hand-operated valve and the old manual earlobe technique to detect
exactly what’s happening in the line. Big old cedar tree behind me. Remarkably left
untouched by the industrial logging of over a hundred years ago. We’re otherwise surrounded
by a small number of cedar trees – Western red cedar – but mainly varieties of fir and
hemlock. Story on this is cedar tree attacked by a
big old hungry black bear who ripped the bark off to get at the juicy material underneath.
Looks like he climbed all the way up the tree and ripped off the bark and killed the tree. Here’s one of the other vents. We’ll just
open it slowly just to crack and see which way the wind is blowing as it were. [whooshing
sound] There’s no doubt that that air is escaping the line there as it fills with water. We’ll
just leave it open a crack and continue on our way down. It’s really neat. We’re still on the three-inch
line. If you listen carefully, we can hear the water trickling through the line. Spectacular. Fountain in the woods. [sounds] Zephyr: It gets way more than that. Markerbouy: Way higher. That’s pretty good.
Perfect. That’s as good as it gets. Female voice: I hope you guys know I sacrificed
my arms and my face and my neck for that. Female voice: I know. Markerbouy: Here’s where we switch from the
three-inch line reduced to a two-inch line. I’d say estimate. We’re roughly two-thirds
of the way down the line. We’re closer to home than we are to the source. In addition to cleaning the intake at the
source of our water supply, there was a reason that we switched off the valve at that point
in order to facilitate the installation of a pressure gauge. Now we are at the terminus
of the water line. We’ve got a pressure gauge here so that Zephyr, who manages the system,
doesn’t have to run backwards and forwards to the only other pressure gauge in the system
and she can adjust the pressure in the line by looking at this gauge standing still. Here we are at the terminus of our water line
where there are two tanks. One is a dedicated container in case of fire. We hope that never
happens around here. The other one is for the household supply. The line under considerable
pressure now will fill the tank automatically. It will also shut off by use of this valve.
That way we’ve got a dedicated tank to the household supply that now operates with maybe
60 to 70 feet of head and automatically controls the pressure at a decent level for inside
the various buildings here. [music]

28 thoughts on “Harvesting Stream Water

  1. that's very interesting actually. is there any rain collection tanks? doesn't that area receive a substantial amount of rain?
     

  2. I'm in Campbell River & was wondering where I could pick-up that filter? I grab my water from Mount Washington run off during the summer months & filter it thru a charcol double filter before its ready to drink.

  3. What an interesting video. Beautiful country and nice water source. Thanks so much for the education. We don't have your scenery in Florida. Rick

  4. my friend was born on that island nice to see a little but of where he was brought up thnx for awsome informative vid

  5. Thanks for your time to go to Gilford Island and bring us some very insightful information,  Looking forward to more vids on their solar systems and how they live on the island with off-grid tech.  I bet the mosquitoes are bad in such a wet climate?

  6. why wouldnt the head of this just be burried, that way there would be no algea. They should look into that, it would be alot easier than having to clean the filter every couple of days. 

  7. Dread to imagine the number of mosquito bites encountered whilst filming that. Very informative though.

  8. You do some really interesting videos thanks for taking the time to show this stuff its appreciated ………….Keep up the good work

  9. Hi! I'm on the opposite side of you in NB. If you were to put a box over your filter to stop the light from shinning on it. Im pretty sure you would stop the algae from clogging your filter. I just found your channel. Great video's you made. Ciao!

  10. what about animal waste or deceased animals lying near the water source or along the way?  any fear of contamination before the filter?

  11. Hello! This is very useful! I have a few questions for you.

    1. What is the water flow (and variations of it) of the stream?

    2. For how many people is this water supply system?

    3. The total lenght of the line is about 3 km?

    4. Have you had any algae problem in the tanks? Do you clean the tanks every once in a while?

    Cheers and thank you for sharing this wonderful video.

  12. Great video but that size pipe running at capacity would fill those tanks in just a few minutes. I bet they run a mini hydro too. 👍

  13. I can't tell by looking but how she described the filter it sounds like a coanda effect screen. If that is true it should be tilted at a 30deg angle with an accelerator plate above it. When installed that way they keep themselves remarkably clean.

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