During the winter months, we irrigate monthly. Through May to September, we irrigate fortnightly.

But how does this process work? What do we have to do?

Well, if we want to irrigate, we have to order it through the bank and pay for it in cash before 10:30am on a Thursday (at least, that is the rule for us here in Olula Del Rio).

Once ordered, the “water man” arrives – generally on a Friday, to give us a slip of paper that states the amount of time we have paid for (for us, normally 2 hours), what day and what time.

Generally, whenever we have ordered water, we receive the delivery on a Sunday – during the early hours of the morning, or late on a Saturday night.

Before the water comes, we go up to the olive field and make sure all the channels are clear and haven’t any leakage points. We also sweep any old straw / animal waste into the channels, so as the water flows it feeds all the trees and plants it is directed to – a great way of fertilizing.

When the time comes for our water, we follow the irrigation channel back to our neighbour’s field and we will block the water feeding into his channel and let it run towards us. It is a communial event – all neighbours are responsible for getting their own water. When it is our other neighbour’s turn, he will then come and block the flow to our fields and direct it towards his.

For the next two hours, we keep an eye on the channels we have dug around our olive trees in a line towards the bottom of the field – aka the vegetable patch – and make sure they aren’t overflowing.

We also let it flow into our bolsa – water deposit – so we can pump it into large water containers, giving us enough to see us through the two weeks before our next water delivery.

The animals enjoy the irrigation time, too…

ducks in irrigation

Follow the drop-down links on the “Olives” menu item to see the next stages…