Spolek Hvozd

Reed bed


Spolek Hvozd

Case Study Contents

About Farm

Farm Name

Spolek Hvozd (Hvozd Association)

Year of foundation



Děčín, Ústí nad Labem

Farm area/size of the organisation:

2.5 ha

Number of workers:

No permanent staff, volunteers only.

Farm main activity:

General field crops, Fruit trees, Horticulture, production of musical instruments.

Climate and soil characteristics

The area has a moderately warm climate with an average annual rainfall of around 600 mm.

The farm is located at an altitude of 530 m above sea level.

Measure Information

Description of the measure

All water used in the house is refiltered in the wetland wastewater treatment (reed bed) and then collected into a water reservoir of 13 m3 located below. This reservoir is an eco-biotope full of natural life with wetland plants and animals. These water supplies help to irrigate the garden and fruit orchard below the pool using only gravity.

Objective of the measure

The measure aims to improve water management within the farm as part of nature-friendly and ecological measures.

Justification of the choice

To improve the farm water management by using a reed bed was chosen because of its compatibility with the principles of permaculture that the association follows.

Where did You get information of the measure from?

The authors gained the information mainly from Tomas Remiarz (permaculture teacher) and Kateřina Horáčková, a member of the association.

Description of the situation before the measure implementation

The old orchard was replanted with new trees and annual crops, which required irrigation, especially in dry summers. There was not enough water in the well for the garden, so new measures had to be found.


Stakeholders involved

European Solidarity Corps volunteers and members of the Hvozd Association.

Description of stakeholders’ role

Volunteers from the European Solidarity Corps programme were financially supported by the European Commission. The Hvozd Association coordinated the whole event during which the reservoir was built and ensured the educational overlap of the activity.

Implementation phase

Description of the survey done for the implementation

Before implementation, a hydrogeological survey focused on soakage capacity was carried out. Association used the Grania organisation service.

Materials used

  • Plastic septic tank,
  • dosing shaft,
  • filter field,
  • sewerage system,
  • rubber foil.

Utilization of subsidies

The grant was used for project coordination (food + accommodation + transport of volunteers) and material purchase.

Implementation / building

The excavation and settlement phase of the septic system was completed in the spring of 2019. Over the summer there was a filter field implemented with volunteers and the water tank was completed.

Required maintenance operations

For a proper cleaning effect, it is necessary to maintain a suitable plant composition in the filtration field and to ensure their regular mowing. Compost activities have to be done outside of this field, and it is necessary to use biodegradable detergents and body wash.


Efficient reuse of water minimizes the costs.
Cleaned water coming out of the reed bed works as a backup for future periods of drought. It can be simply pumped up back to the house and either used for washing etc. or as drinkable water if another filtering device (UV lamp etc.) is added.
Volunteers involved gained a lot of new experience and motivation to participate in similar projects in the future. Participants of various courses and lectures organized by the Hvozd Association during the year can also see the reed bed in practice and get inspired for their projects.
Poor plant filter maintenance can result in ineffective cleaning. Using inappropriate home hygiene products can harm cleaning plants.


Innovation elements

An innovative element is the reuse of wastewater.

Key element for success

Water management of the farm was significantly improved by the successful implementation of the project´s aims. Now, authors of the measure can re-filter all wastewater of the house and re-use it back if needed. The system can capture 70000 litres of water for irrigation, which is a real revolution in their water management and sustainability during periods of drought.


Physical constraints

The size of the reed bed is designed for a household of five people. In case of a larger household, it is necessary to apply additional water-saving measures (e.g. use of rainwater, no water wasting etc.).

Lesson learned

Farmers’ experiences

The plant filter could represent a nice blooming garden landmark. It must be maintained like any other flower bed, and unwanted vegetation has to be removed. Every member of the household must be conscious of responsible use of hygiene products.

Measure sustainability

Environmental sustainability

The water reservoir, connected to the reed bed, is a biotope without demanding maintenance needs – the whole system represents an environmentally and economically high sustainable solution for improved water management.

Economical sustainability

Despite the high initial costs, they are reduced in the long term.

Transfer of the measure

Replicability conditions required

  • Land with suitable acreage, soil absorption and ideally sloping terrain.
  • Another condition is a building permit and project documentation.

Conclusion remarks

The authors of the measure managed to make water use more efficient even though the construction was self-built (independent of the village) and the house does not even have a water connection.


The authors recommend placing the treatment plant on a site where a truck can access. They also advise to work on the measure implementation in a group to make a comprehensive solution for the whole village – even in times of drought, there will be enough water for watering and no need to use a potable source.

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