Activity 4.3: Sources and Sinks

Catalog the water on your own site and create an assessment map. This perhaps is one of the more important assessments informing your final design. Please note the extended due date. Completing this assignment will be useful for the Practicum course. 

PART 1: Identify sources and sinks.

A. Current Sources: Where is water currently entering the site? List and describe municipal sources, wells, springs, creeks, rainfall (volume per year from previous activity) and others. Note the quality (excellent, medium, fair) and quantity of water. Discuss potential advantages and disadvantages for the source on your site. 



We have a well drilled at the southwest corner of the property, which currently services the house and barn. The well is 135 feet deep and has a recharge rate of 20 gals/minute. We have had to replace the pump every five years or so, which costs us about $1000. The water quality is very good; we have it tested every few years and only had to shock it one time in 20 years because of high bacterial counts.

Seasonal Creek

A small creek flows through the North corner of the property. It flows most years from about Nov 1 through late spring. In really wet summers it will also trickle – though not more than an inch or so. The creek is about 4 feet wide on average. We don’t use the water for anything currently.


B. Future Sources: What potential sources could you tap,and what uses would they meet? What are some of the estimated costs with developing this resource? What are the advantages and disadvantages to developing it? Some of these may overlap with the items above. You might have described the creek but now can discuss utilizing it.


Seasonal Creek

The creek mentioned before does not really have enough flow to be pumped for water or animals. We could, however, create some small dams to slow water down and it might pool up; making it useful for water draw in an emergency for animals or something.

Rainwater Catchment

From the previous exercise we determined that we could capture about 8,000 gallons per year from the barn. There are three downspouts on the corners and we could put cube tanks on pallets to capture water; as much as 900 gallons we could hold. The tanks would be useful for animal water, and for the fruit trees on the backside of the barn. It would probably cost about $500 to set up all three tanks.

C. Sinks: Where does water leave the site? Are there any indications of problems (erosion, pollution, etc.?) What can be done to capture more water on site? What can be done to ensure water leaves the site clean?


Seasonal Creek

The creek mentioned before definitely leaves the site rapidly probably carrying whatever pollutants and soil that it’s carrying with it. We could look into some sort of way to slow it down and settle some before it leaves; maybe a constructed wetland? Need to do more research on that.

PART 2: Map water on your site.

Start a new trace overlay for a water assessment of your site. This is both a map that you will draw and make notes about the items above as well as more micro-elements – like downspouts, places that puddle in large storms, pipes, drains, ditches, etc. You can see an example uploaded in this week’s course material.

Some items that you might want to map:

  • Existing Sources of Supply:
    • location
    • quality
    • quantity
    • dependability
    • network layout and features in the buildings and landscape (spigots, pipes, etc.)

  • Watershed Boundaries and Flow Patterns:
    • concentration and dispersion areas
    • roof runoff
    • driveway and road runoff
    • storm drains
    • flood-prone areas
    • vernal or temporary ponds

  • Pollution Sources:
    • autos
    • neighbors
    • nearby commerce
    • industry or farms
    • entry points on the site

  • Potential Sources Of Water Supply:
    • location
    • quality
    • quantity,
    • cost to develop

  • Existing Infrastructure:
    • on site & nearby culverts
    • wells
    • water lines
    • tanks
    • sewage lines
    • septic tanks
    • leach field
    • cisterns

  • Erosion:
    • existing
    • potential

  • Broadscale Sources:
    • Springs
    • mains
    • wells
    • streams
    • aquifers
    • ponds
    • pond sites

  • Broadscale Needs:
    • irrigation
    • animals
    • aquaculture
    • domestic use
    • food processing

  • Domestic Sources:
    • wells
    • tanks
    • town/city supply lines
    • taps
    • roofs and downspouts

To complete your assignment, submit a photograph or scan of your water assessment map with a clear and concise analysis of your sources and sinks from part 1 (You can upload up to five documents.)