Smart Solutions

Rainwater Irrigation System

A local irrigation system that involves the collection and filtering of rainwater pumped to agricultural land using solar and wind-powered pumps.

Implemented inTomaszyn

Country : Poland

What’s the solution?

The irrigation system involves the collection of rainwater and runoff water from the land, which is filtered and stored in a main storage tanks.

Solar and wind power is harnessed and stored in order to power the filtration and pumping system, with the water distributed according to need to agricultural fields and greenhouses in the village.

What makes it smart?

The solution is smart because it is passive and requires only initial investments in the installation of the constitutive elements of the system.

Runoff water is a locally available, low-cost resource.

It can make rural areas independent from larger water systems.

The Ost-Oya ceramic pots also are a very simple -low-tech - yet very effective system that can be spread among gardeners all over Europe.

How is the solution implemented?

  • Plan the implementation of the passive irrigation system, in accordance to the local hydrological situation and the needs and resources of the given agricultural production area.
  • Construct the irrigation system.

In what local context has it been applied?

Water is one of the earth's most valuable natural resources - it is also an essential part of agricultural production. The Ostoja Natury cooperative has designated a pilot area of 2 hectares for irrigation based on the implemented passive, precise rainwater irrigation system, allowing to capture full rainwater potential from roofs – 45 000 litre per month, and the recovery of 99% of grey water up to 30000 litres per month, with very low maintenance cost.

Who was behind the implementation?

The initiative has been fully planned and implemented by the Ostoja Natury agricultural production cooperative..

The Ostoja Natury cooperative had 22 members as of June 2020).

What was the local journey?

  • Planning of the agricultural production land in the direct vicinity of the main building of the cooperative and the required watering system
  • Planning was done in 2019 by the CEO of the cooperative and the main responsible for the agricultural production,
  • A water engineering expert, specialised in the construction of passive irrigation systems was invited to improve the design of the irrigation system.
  • The same person was responsible for the implementation of the tanks and pipes in the pilot area. A building company was contracted to dig the tanks and other element: a main tank of 15000 litres of capacity; several small standing rainwater tanks, a buried rainwater tanks
  • A solar powered electricity pump with fertigation capacity was installed to distribute water in the pilot area (field, foiled greenhouse, flower beds)
  • Setting of the first crop and vegetable plantations
  • The cooperative also installed a low-tech, low-cost ‘passive irrigation’ system in specific/targeted locations.  This involved the placing of ceramic pots in the ground, which are occasionally filled with filtered rainwater to provide a completely passive watering device for plants and vegetables

What have been the main outputs & results?

  • The passive irrigation system has been set -up and is fully functional. It collects runoff water and grey water, filters it and distributes it in the irrigation system of the pilot 2 hectare agricultural production land.
  • Cost savings
  • Water savings
  • Production benefits

What does it bring the village/community?

More resilient agricultural production (resistant to climate change and future water shortages) and independent from the main water systems.

What’s needed

Financial resources

Main types of cost:

Set-up costs: about 40 000€, of which:

About 20 000€ for the setting of the irrigation system for an area of 2 hectares.

About 10 000€ for planning the whole system

About 10 000€ for the installation / construction of the system

The system runs basically on the electricity pump with fertigation capacity, powered by solar panels. The operation of it requires only regular maintenance and managing the water flow according to the needs of the agricultural production.

Funding received:
Ostoja Natury cooperative1,000 €Planning of the whole system
Ostoja Natury cooperative10,000 €Implementing / constructing – installing of the system for 2 pilot hectares
Ostoja Natury cooperative20 €for each Ost-Oya ceramic pot (about 200 used in Ost Oya)

Human resources

• Owners of the initiative of the irrigation system – to plan the irrigation system

• Water engineering expert, specialised in the construction of passive irrigation systems

• building company to dig the tanks and other elements of the system (small amount of people)

Physical resources

What to do…

  • Plan well (this is crucially important), to fulfill real needs and capacity of the ‘investors’.
  • Plan for the proper scale. Be realistic.
  • Use Nature Based Solutions (hydrography, gravity, geography of the land).
  • Make it as simple as possible, to diminish the number of technical elements that can turn down.

and not to do

  • Don’t oversize.
  • Don’t attempt to build the irrigation system without a very precise plan.


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