PATHS & DRAINAGE
Permeable footpaths and permaculture drainage are key features of Sand River's design and commitment to sustainability. The permaculture principle of "Slow • Spread • Sink" not only optimizes the use of limited water to benefit habitat and economic savings but it also minimizes water's potentially destructive impact during infrequent and heavy rains. As drought conditions in the Southwest continue to deepen, rainwater management only becomes more critical.
In addition to functionality, permeable paths offer a desirable natural aesthetic, which complements the native landscape.
PATHS & DRAINAGE PROJECT 2021
In 2020, the Paths Group was formed to research, investigate, and request bids to refurbish our permeable footpaths. This was an enormous project involving five months of planning, followed by two months of execution, with a number of residents playing critical roles over the course of the group's work until its eventual completion in June of 2021.
Early on, it became evident to the group that there were areas where drainage, which must work hand-in-hand with the paths system, was not functioning optimally. The group subsequently sought the expertise of a hydrologist, whose site visit and report provided key specifications to inform the bidding process.
The paths contractor and his crew worked from late April until mid-June, rebuilding swales and ditches, replacing culverts where needed, grading and re-banking the paths to drain properly, and ultimately applying the new surface material and protective stabilizer.
Once work was completed, the summer rains helped the native grasses, which are a fundamental feature of Sand River's drainage design, to re-establish themselves along the upgraded ditches and swales.
With appreciation to the Paths Group for orchestrating this comprehensive project, starting with Rose who recognized the importance of upholding the original permeable design, served as group point during the planning phase, then acted as liaison to the contractor and project manager during the execution phase. Carol G served in an advisory / support role and as residents' liaison during the execution phase. With gratitude to Jenny, Pam, Rita, Sandra, Sandy, and Shari who, during the planning phase, researched, provided drainage documentation, contacted contractors, and more. Thanks to the 2021 Landscape Team for strategic grass removal in preparation for drainage work and to the 2019 Buildings & Grounds Team for their prior work on the project. (Most photos courtesy of Rose and Sandra)