Lin and Oliver Egan of Winderberry Nursery & Edible Acres Farm, after a years-long saga since an upstream landowner revoked access to their historic gravity irrigation ditch (there was no legal easement, just the water license), are finally drawing water from a new point-of-diversion for their 10-acre vegetable, flower, and nursery operation in Windermere.
 
The farm installed an innovative intake with a skimmer pipe that fills an off-creek tank by gravity, with overflow draining back to the creek. This design has a very low impact on the riparian area, and the skimmer pipe is easily removed with a hoist for the winter or if a flash flood threatens. The installation was partially funded by BC’s Agriculture Water Infrastructure (AWI) program.
 
From the tank, water is pumped up to their fields where — after many years of manually moving pipes and turning valves — the farm has applied for partial funding from the Beneficial Management Plan (BMP) program to install automatic valves and more efficient sprinklers. Fingers crossed! Another option is the Columbia Basin Trust’s Farm Smart program that will likely be relaunched before the end of this year.

 Oliver Egan with the new skimmer pipe intake. The pipe can be hoisted out on the pulley behind, and detached completely at the connection to the buried pipe at the shoreline.

The pipe on the shoreline is buried at a 1-2% grade through the forest to an underground tank. Disturbed soil has been resown to native plants and the woody debris was already there — no trees were harmed in the installation!

Oliver with the underground concrete tank and red lock-box containing meters and controllers behind him.

Water that isn’t used overflows back to the river, just a hundred feet or so downstream of the intake.

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