Thursday, December 17, 2009
The case of the poultry house on the flood plain
A former client of mine (remember the turkey farm, in a Persian Jews village) is building a new, enormous poultry house (1.2 hectares) in the middle of a verdant artichoke plantation (pic). The terrain is plain and there is no natural drainage. I spent the morning walking around and learning the land with him, his halfwit brother, the obese contractor and his sidekick, followed by half the village that had to know what my client was up to.
The contractor insisted that I design a pumping station, but convinced him that it was unfeasible, that the volume of the rainfall to be evacuated in a 1:10 year rain would be in the order of thousands of cubic meters. And that the regulators dislike pumping solutions because they are eventually sabotaged to spite the neighbor and flood his land. I found a natural wadi (creek) hidden by overgrown weeds, which after deepening could convey the surface runoff to a dry river. When the crowd visualized the engineering solution, it turned tensely to see what my Client would do. The creek to be improved is about 150 meter distance from the new poultry house, and the pipe or channel to it will cross his neighbor's plot. I felt it may be something of a problem. Additionally, the deepening of the creek would need the aproval of the village council (the ruling organ of the moshav, a cooperative kind of settlement) because it is public land.
The man phoned the secretary of the village offering as a gesture of public service to improve the drainage system of the village, for exampe, by deepening the creek. The Secretary by name of Naim thanked him. Regarding crossing the neighbor's land, there was a coded debate about historic division lines, where the road had passed in their father's time, they tried to visualize imaginary limits and ended by convincing themselves that they are in their right. Tomorrow they will order the cement tubes and after Shabbat, the building will start.
I returned home with a cheque in my wallet. They are days when life is bearable.