I have a problem. Some of the locals pass through my land to get to their coffee plantations. There are other ways for them to get to their properties, so I’m discouraging this, to a certain extent, but not denying a moderate level of access. The more I improve my own access, however, the more likely they are to take advantage of it. The problem is not really making it possible to cross the stream, because it is already possible, it is precluding passers-through from trying to lower the water level by removing the planks at the weir, a little further downstream, so they don’t get their ankles wet.
Needless to say, this practice would disrupt power production, as the water source for the power will be taken from the very same place that the planks are, and sometimes are not. And the best way to discourage this practice, is to make it ineffective. So the goal is not to build a pretty bridge. I don’t really want one, but it might be possible to kill two birds with one stone, or at least frighten them both off.
By now you must be wondering what an Irish Bridge is (the Irish call them Yorkshire Bridges, by the way). Well, the other day, while my composting worms were plotting their escape and total conquest of the interior of my car, I was drinking with Yorkshire Bob and some other Brits in my pub. The Irish Bridge (a.k.a. Yorkshire Bridge) had been suggested to me earlier in the day by Fergus, my worm guy, who’s not from Yorkshire or Ireland, but is still a Brit, himself. In an earlier life he worked as a civil engineer around the world for various large general contractors. He even helped build an international airport in the middle of the desert in Iraq decades ago that has never been used but can still be viewed on Google Earth. When I mentioned the concept to Yorkshire Bob, he balked, shook his head furiously, and told me not to do anything until he visits me at the site again in early January. There was lots of joking. . . yeah, Irish Bridge, because it’s under water. I thought he was going to cuff me just for suggesting such a preposterous idea. But let’s look at what Wikipedia has to say:
A low water crossing (also known as an Irish bridge, Yorkshire bridge, causeway in Australia, low level crossing or low water bridge) provides a bridge when water flow is low. Under high flow conditions, water runs over the roadway and precludes vehicular traffic. This approach is cheaper than building a bridge to raise the level of the road above the highest flood stage of a river, particularly in developing countries or in semi-arid areas with rare high-volume rain.
This is exactly what I want, although “precludes vehicular traffic” is not my goal. Even when they pull out the planks from my weir, they still get their ankles wet on their motorbikes or are mid-wheel level in their Hyundai light-weight trucks. What’s depicted in the the bridge, or ford, to the right, is what I’m looking for. Note the stepping stones for persons passing through on foot. Any comments? Any at all?