Theories are great, but to be meaningful, they must be put to the test. For a little over ten years, we’ve been working on improving our soil quality. There are many potential benefits, but our capacity to weather the drought motivated our efforts. During the past few years of drought, I’ve tried to calculate our additional water holding capacity. Depending on what numbers I used, my estimates have ranged from 2.6 to 3.9 million additional gallons of water that could be retained in our soil. But so far, these numbers have only been theoretical. How much more could we really absorb? That remained to be seen.
This week’s El Niño powered storms gave us a chance to gather more data. There is a low point on our property that floods predictably after 1.5 inches of rain. Yesterday, it did flood. But not until nearly 4 inches had fallen in the previous day and a half. It seems we are retaining more water.
How much more? It appears that we absorbed at least 2 more inches of rain before flooding started. Time for math.
An inch of rain covering an acre of land is 27,154 gallons. 2 inches on 52 acres is 2,824,016 gallons.
This is a fairly crude “back-of-the-envelope” calculation, but it falls very neatly within the predicted range. Not PhD level science perhaps, but a nice confirmation that our work has been worthwhile.