This report provides an analysis of the current water use at Whiting Farm in Auburn, ME, and provides suggestions for implementing systems that will reduce water use, make Whiting Farm independent in water acquisition, and provide ways to try to ensure water security going into the future. Currently, Whiting Farm suffers from unreliable and unsustainable water use exacerbated by the drought that occurred in the past few months. The farm system as a whole uses an enormous amount of water every day, and is reliant on an insufficient source of water-- a hand dug well sourced from a seasonal irrigation pond. The Whiting water system could be improved from a variety of additions and changes to the current water use. As Whiting’s current well is not a dependable source of water for the farm, investigation into the location and depth of a new well is mapped out in this report. The installation of a washing station in conjunction with the new well is also suggested to improve water use and effort required to wash vegetables for sale at the on site farm stand. The idea of installing rainfall collection systems for use on Whiting’s greenhouses has been investigated, and specifically it has been found that implementing gutter-catchment structures on the outer surface of greenhouses is the most efficient form of rain catchment. This method has been shown to collect as much as 20,000 gallons in a season in areas with similar rainfall characteristics as Maine, and on smaller greenhouses, meaning Whiting could exceed 20,000 gallons of collected rainwater per season. Within the greenhouses, installing a new system to water the poinsettia cash crops is discussed to mitigate the 3.5 hours and 3000 gallons of water currently required. Two methods, ebb & flow and capillary mat, are suggested to improve the water use efficiency and time required to water, and are compared in terms of cost of installation, water use efficiency, ability of water reuse, and ease of use. The installation of a bathroom facility is also very important because there currently is no bathroom facility on site and would allow for larger groups of people to be maintained on the property. In order to try to prevent creating additional need for water, investigation into the possibility of a composting toilet and septic system on the farm is discussed.
Katz, Emma; Copeland, Misha; and Cuthbert, Kate, "Water Security at Whiting Farm: 2016 Report" (2016). Community Engaged Research Reports. 35.