Designing, and Building My Own Wind Turbine
Field Notes from Irricana, Alberta, Canada
by Steven Fahey

24 Sep 2008
Lights ON
24 Oct 2009
14 Nov 2009
Battery Test
15 Jan 2010
15 Feb 2010
Solar Panels
5 Jun 2010
Water Pump
31 Dec 2011
1 Oct 2017
11 May 2019
PV Panel Repair

DIARY ENTRY FOR 5 June, 2010

Installing a Water Pump - powered by my RE system

One of the things everybody needs when living on a country acreage is water. From a well, a stream, a lake, it has to come from somewhere. I am blessed with two supplies of water - an abundant well and an irrigation canal that flows past my property line. The canal is for agricultural irrigation, and licenses can be bought to withdraw (limited) amounts. Last year I bought a license, though it turned out be rainy enough not to need it at all.

This year it's also raining plenty, but what is different are the new trees. My wife planted a hedgerow of caragana shrubs which, in a few years, will act as a natural snow-fence. The extra snow drifting from the north will deposit more moisture on many acres of our fields, when it melts in spring.

I can't deny that I run a pump with a few extension cords run out from the house. However, I'm keen to make this fun and to put my wind+solar power to use. Especially in the summer where there isn't much need for electric lights. Here's the set-up I chose to use. From here I'm showing the wind turbine in the background, the barn which uses the electricity, and the pump (in the foreground) on a 50-foot heavy-gauge extension cord. Believe it or not it works!

Here's the pump. It's a jet pump - not ideal but the price was. I got two of them for free! Jet pumps need to be primed, which involves some fussing about, pouring water into a funnel on a port at the top until the suction line gets full enough of water that the "jet" works on a continuous stream of water flowing from the canal. I've made some improvements to the primer port, notably adding a check-valve so it doesn't gush out in my face!

I didn't expect this part! Usually, the canal is filled at the beginning of May, and full until October. For some reason, the operators of the canal are running it 1/2 flow. I previously set up my intake 6" under the water level, but here it is, high and dry. Well, it has been a rainy week, so I don't even need to water the trees. The same conditions must apply to all the farmers in the area. From this I decuce that the canal utility decided they don't need to run as much water in the canal for a time. Sounds reasonable, but I hope it's not permanent. Yesterday I checked again and it's still low. I extended the filter and re-stacked the rocks to support it, so this should be less of a problem.