A domestic quickening

One of the by products of all the work I've been doing 'improving' my health is that I can spend more time away from the computer --and the web. These forays into other projects can be very productive and satisfying.

One such exercise is that we're reviewing our swimming pool options.

Here's an old panning video shot of our body of water:

We've had a pool for a while

  • as our major investment in Summer cooling/ cool off
  • for the kids(as using local council pools was also very expensive)
  • as the axis of my exercise program against the ravages of chronic illness(I ' exercised in the pool most days of the year --I even own a wet suit so that I can take the plunge September - May)
But pools, even ones like ours, cost money and demand a lot of chemical upkeep and testing. They are also a massive liability when drought kicks in big time -- like now.

So I was keen to exploit the pool as a water resource. Rather than get caught up in the watertank craze, why not use our already big vessel to store roof run off?

But then, it follows, that if you run fresh water off the roof into your pool the whole chemistry goes haywire and besides you can
't utilize the water with all those additives for anything other than swimming in a sterile fluid.

So it's very much an either/o
r thing.

Natural Swimming Pools

But there is such a thing as a 'natural swimming pool' --one that utilizes nature to keep the water swim safe. Its' a swimming 'pond'.

Essentially you allocate at least 50 percent of your pool's surface area to water plants, either at one end or in a ring around the sides, eliminating the need for chlorine and expensive filters and pumps by exploiting the vegetation's ability to filter the water volume. You separate the swimming area of your pool and the filtration area, or plant zone and try to replicate the natural filtering on offer in bogs, wetlands and riparian environments

It's all very ecological. It is also a major scientific challenge to ensure you get it right. But think of the benefits! In our one Dixie cup: me and fam + plants + fish + frogs + the neighborhood fauna + water saving + water storage.*

Much better than the sterile chlorine swill we are told is the only way to swim.


I first read about such a pool option 15 years ago when I was reading up on and doing permaculture designs for where we used to live. I had the whole shebang going -- mandala vegetable garden, a range of fruit trees, a few bamboo varieties...

Now I'm back in like mode, so to speak, within certain space constraints and without financial reserves. You'll note my pond discussions here already --so this exercise is drought driven. It's a celebration of scarcity.

So let's see what happens. I'll post updates here and log the exercises as hypothesis and practice.

* + Cane toads! even with my three fish ponds already I am always on the watch for
Bufo marinus which is poisonous even with its developmental stages are -- eggs and tadpoles . This is a drawback as the larger the body of water the harder is the toad to catch. Fortuntely the male lets the world know when it occupies a pond and at night a flash light is a hunter's best weapon. I recommend the activity: spotlighting cane toads.