RainAmp is a agricultural solution for growing food on land where there would otherwise be inadequate water for that crop.    It is ideally suited for small-scale agriculture in regions with restricted water access.   It is entirely solar powered and does it’s job without human intervention.     It can support growing food producing trees, bushes and vines on land that would otherwise be idle or relegated to lower value dryland crops.

When we first started using the RainAmp bowls we found that they worked great for smaller storms but when large storms came through it caused water pooling. In our soil the pools disappeared in a few hours but in other soils they could persist for days which could damage trees. The main issue for us was that the extra water soaked right through the bio-sponge deeper than the tree could reach so it was not available to support the tree.

What is RainAmp S1

S1 is our solar powered system to detect excess water from larger storms pooling around the tree. It Pumps the excess water into a storage tanks. It uses the stored water water to drip feed the tree between storms. It senses the soil moisture at two depths so we can detect when the tree needs water. When the 55 gallon storage tank is full S1 can supply 1/2 gallon of water for over 100 days between storms.

Reserve your RainAmp S1 today
info@RainAmp.com (269)-888-1655

RainAmp showing pooling water when S1 is not installed.

RainAmp Key Components:

  • Planting Bowls: RainAmp consists of specially designed planting bowls 3 to 10 foot in diameter. These bowls are  placed around every tree, vine or bush within orchards or berry farms, each featuring a concave shape that directs rainfall to a central point. The design is optimized to create a deeper column of moist soil, ensuring efficient watering for plants.   The water resistant skin encourages water to run to the center instead of soaking into the surface soil.  This allows even small storms to provide meaningful amounts of water to the tree.   The water resistant skins also slow evaporation from the soil around the tree retaining it for use by the tree.
  • Bio-Sponge:  At the center of the planting bowl is dug out to a depth of about 30” then we mix in a large amount of organic matter to increase the soil’s water holding capacity and to provide future nutrients.
  • Rainwater Collection and Storage: The RainAmp Support system (S1) provides technology for collecting and storing excess rainwater during heavy storms. This collected water is stored for later use and can feed a 1/2 gallon per day for over a 100 days allowing it to thrive through the dry period between storms.

RainAmp S1 System Components

  • Robust Water Sensor to detect pooling water under adverse contamination conditions
  • Cleanable Water strainer to allow pumping what may be mud contaminated water into storage
  • Pump in strainer to pump water from strainer to storage
  • Two level soil moisture sensor so we can determine when the tree needs more water.
  • Pump in storage tank to deliver drip feed water to the tree
  • Water level sensors in the storage tank
    • Determines how much water is available for drip feed,
    • Can be used to reduce water fed to tree when the tank drops below a threashold. Under the therory that a live tree is better than a dead tree even if it grew slower when we were short of water.
    • Used to reduce pumping when we know freezing conditions likely since we never want the tank more than 3/4 full when it could freeze.
  • Vacuum breaker device to prevent a siphon from emptying the storage tank,
  • Drip emitter to feed the tree
  • Solar Panel to run the system and keep the battery charged
  • Battery to run the pumps at night since that is when the storms can arrive
  • Micro controller and software that coordinates all this to work together
  • Tubing and wires needed to connect it all together assuming the barrel is within 8 foot of tree.

Items not included with RainAmp S1

  • Planting bowl you form locally
  • Water impervious skin for Planting bowl
  • Bio-sponge that you build locally.
  • 55 gallon plastic water barrels
    • Used barrels are cheaper to obtain locally.

Optional RainAmp S1 Components

  • Radio uplink of telemetry
    • Allows each S1 system to share metrics such as how dry the soil is, if there is water pooled, local temperature and humidity, how much water is in the storage tank, how much water has been added to the storage tank, how much water has been withdrawn from the storage tank
  • humidity, temperature sensors
    • Help predict how things dry relative to different weather conditions.
    • We can use this to adjust how much water we deliver during drip feeding
  • Ozone water cleaning system (Requires larger solar panel)
    • Allows us to keep algae and fungus from growing in the storage tank. Will also kill any insects in the tank. Ozone requires a fair amount of power so we only run it intermittently and double the solar panel.
  • Wildlife watering bowl:
    • Use some of your stored water to attract wildlife to photography blinds.
      • Animals will remember where they found water and will return for it especially during dry months.
    • A tough bowl that can be screwed to a post. Mount it high for birds or low for small mammals. It includes
      • A separate sensor so we know when to pump more water into it.
      • A pump to pump water from storage into when needed,
      • Accelerometer to detect if the bowl has been knocked into a position where water would run out of it.
      • A small ozone injector to reduce risk of disease spread between animals.
      • Separate circulation tank for ozone injector
      • Separate circulation pump or the ozone injector.
      • Motion sensor so we can shut down the pumps when animals come.
      • Extra microcontroller to coordinate all of this.

The Rain Amp And S1 a combined process:

  • Rainwater Concentration: When rainfall occurs, the planting bowls capture the rainwater efficiently. The concave shape acts as a natural funnel, guiding the water to the center of the bowl.
  • Directing Moisture to Plant Roots: The central area of the planting bowl is where crops like fruit trees and bushes are positioned. As rainwater collects in this central area, it is directed to the roots of the plants. This targeted approach ensures that plants receive the moisture they need to thrive.
  • Excess Rainwater Storage: RainAmp’s support system (S1) detects when there’s more rain than the plants require and pumps the excess rainwater water into a storage barrel or tank.  This stored water serves as storage and a full barrel can drip feed that tree for over 120 days between storms.
  • Gradual Water Release: During dry spells, the stored rainwater is gradually released, providing a consistent supply of moisture to the plants. This controlled irrigation allows for sustained crop growth, even when natural rainfall is scarce.
  • Incremental:   Installations can start with a single tree while remaining cost effective for large scale use in orchards and vinyards. It is also great for establishing wind break trees. The system can be tailored to various climates, trees and bushes.  Its user-friendly design allows farmers to install and maintain it with ease.

RainAmp’s S1 technology is enables food production on land otherwise too dry to sustain it.   It concentrates rainfall where it’s needed most, enhances crop yields, reduces costs, promotes sustainable practices, and ensures farmers are well-prepared to navigate droughts and water limitations. This innovative system is tailored to the unique challenges faced by small-scale farmers, making it an essential tool for their success.

Silvopasture Fodder Even During Drought: In dry years when inadequate rainfall fails to nourish the grass, certain trees like willow can serve as an alternative food source. This alternative forage can assist farmers in avoiding the necessity to sell their animals at a significant loss. RainAmp proves ideal for supporting these trees and ensuring they can cultivate fodder even during extended periods between rainstorms.

Groundwater Recharge and Freshwater Lens Recovery: On numerous islands, excessive pumping and decreased rainfall have led to saltwater intrusion into their freshwater lens. Simultaneously, when rain does occur, degraded lands allow a significant portion of it to run off into the ocean. RainAmp, when deployed at a sufficient scale, captures this water and provides it with an opportunity to percolate into the ground, ultimately contributing to the recharge of the freshwater lens. This not only supports the ability of island residents to continue farming their land but also helps in retaining their residence on the island.

Raspberry plants using the RainAmp cement planting bowls.
Raspberry plants using the RainAmp cement planting bowls.
Ginko Tree thriving with RainAmp system
Ginko Tree thriving with RainAmp system

11 Comments

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