Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Global Warming/Climate Change, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation — by Chris McLeod February 23, 2013
It’s nearing the end of summer here at Fernglade farm and what a summer it has been. Two inches of rain in over five months, and extreme heat for days on end, results in a most unpleasant experience.
Still, despite it all, things are still growing and there is still food to eat. The kangaroos, wallabies and wombats are also still eating from the farm and they are here often enough now that I’m assuming that conditions are harder elsewhere.
As a response to the extreme weather conditions, in very early summer I set about heavily mulching all of the plants in the food forest and whilst overall about 10% of the plants and trees here have died, 90% have survived.Comments (10)
Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Dams, Earth Banks, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Material, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Swales, Terraces, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 31, 2013
This excellent little 20-minute video does a great job of covering the basics of watershed management and landscape rehydration. You won’t hear the words ‘permaculture’ or ’swales’ once, but it’s clear that both are in use here, to great effect. If we can get these simple but profound concepts driven into social consciousness, and applied broadscale, we would see that investment in labour pay dividends, as many of our increasingly expensive natural disasters and resource limitations would simply disappear, as we reinstate nature’s own moderating capabilities.Comments (7)
Conservation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by I-SIS January 22, 2013
From pathogens, biological drugs, illicit drugs to arsenic, by Prof Joe Cummins
An intact forest ecosystem protects and supplies the watershed
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
Unpolluted healthy drinking water is a right not a privilege. That right must be protected and restored to those suffering from shortages of drinking water or forced to consume polluted water. Water suppliers must fully and truthfully report findings of water pollutants even at levels deemed to be safe for human consumption by regulatory bureaucracies.
An estimated one billion people lack access to safe, reliable water supplies, and two billion people lack adequate sanitation. In the face of growing populations, climate change, and increasing transboundary water issues, conflict and even warfare over water have been widely predicted . Our goal must be to provide water security for all, especially for the poor everywhere.Comments (2)
Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Global Warming/Climate Change, Irrigation, Regional Water Cycle, Trees — by Chris McLeod January 15, 2013
What a difference six weeks has made to the food forest here! The change in climate between cool and wet to hot and dry happened in less than a week during early October and since that time there has been no significant rainfall. The rain probably won’t fall here now until about April based on past experience and records.
The abrupt change surprised me and I took a while to come to accept that the climate had altered here that quickly, but after this realisation I undertook to heavily mulch all 300+ fruit trees. The purpose of this is to keep the plants’ root systems cool and reduce the evaporation of ground water. The mulch does have the adverse effect of scavenging nitrogen from the top soil which causes further stress to the fruit trees, but this is only temporary and the impact is much less than the stress caused by the loss of ground water due to evaporation.Comments (13)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Earth Banks, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Storm Water, Water Harvesting — by Salah Hammad January 9, 2013
Shibam: UNESCO World Heritage site
I was recently privileged to be part of the team that accompanied Geoff and Nadia Lawton along with Mr. Tashi Dawa in a very interesting consultancy in the Southern Yemen, specifically The Hadhramaut Valley, or Wadi Hadhramaut.
Geoff was invited by the “Reconstruction Fund of Hadhramaut and Al-Mahra” to give his opinion on what could be done in the valley in terms of flood mitigation and water harvesting from a permaculture point of view.Comments (10)
Aquaculture, Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Jason Gerhardt November 27, 2012
The author scopes out an oyster reef in Pamlico Sound, NC
Photo Credit: Jason Gerhardt
Being a resident of the dryland Western US, I should probably be thinking more about wildfire and drought than storm surge and coastal erosion, but for some reason, I’ve been drawn to the shoreline recently. As I have yet to come across any significant permaculture analysis or design strategy for barrier islands and associated coasts, most of this discussion is drawn from applying permaculture design thinking to other research. My hope is that this article will inspire others to develop and contribute more specific permaculture content for such important ecosystems and communities.
As large hurricanes continually batter the Eastern coast of the United States, causing catastrophic damage and human suffering, it is time to think about how permaculture design applies to human communities in such environments. From 100-year floods to wildland fire to coastal superstorms, modern infrastructure is proving to be insufficiently designed to deal with such destructive forces of nature. As permaculture designers, we attempt to work with nature, harmonizing what we design with natural forces, while using those forces as a resource, patterning after them, pacifying them, or deflecting them.
The inherent nature of barrier islands and associated coastline is one of rapid and constant change — literally a foundation of shifting sands. Constant disturbance is perhaps the antithesis of permaculture (permanent-culture), so the question must be asked: how does permaculture apply in a place like this? Do we attempt to create greater stability or do we work with the changing nature of the place? Or, do we suggest that people shouldn’t be living in such places at all?Comments (4)
Biodiversity, Conservation, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Irrigation, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 20, 2012
Filmmaker and environmentalist, John D. Liu from the Environmental Education Media Project team, takes us to Rwanda again (last time was here), showing us how the country is seeking to leapfrog the disastrous ‘development‘ route most of the countries of the North have gone down, to instead head more directly towards sustainability. Given the horrors this country were awash with during the 1990s, it’s certainly encouraging to see the nation making some good truly forward steps on several fronts.Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Community Projects, Conservation, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Plant Systems, Population, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by John D. Liu November 17, 2012
Before (below) and after (above), Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabiliation Project
A Breakthough of Worldwide Importance
In 1995, as the Chinese government and people were beginning an ambitious effort to restore the cradle of Chinese civilization, I was asked by the World Bank to document the “Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabilitation Project”. Originally the Loess Plateau had been fully vegetated with massive forests and grasslands. Resources extracted from the giant forests, rushing rivers, and abundance of the earth in this place blossomed into the magnificence of the Han, the Qin and the Tang dynasties. The accomplishments of the early Chinese dynasties, based in this area, rank among the greatest human scientific and artistic achievements of any age. The Loess Plateau gave birth to the Han race, the largest ethnic group on the planet, and the plateau is generally considered by historians and geographers to be the second place on Earth where human beings began to use settled agriculture.Comments (9)
Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Storm Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Brad Lancaster November 15, 2012
Free Water is a semi-finalist in the $200,000 FOCUS FORWARD Filmmaker Competition and is in the running to become the $100,000 Grand Prize Winner. It could also be named an Audience Favorite if it’s among the ten that receives the most votes. If you love it, vote for it. Click on the VOTE button in the top right corner of the video player. Note that voting may not be available on all mobile platforms, and browser cookies must be enabled to vote.
Discover how to sustainably harvest 100,000 gallons of rainwater per year in your own back yard, by visiting Brad Landcaster in an urban desert as he reduces environmental and financial costs and produces free resources.
Please check out and vote for this great short video on the potential of planting the rain. If it wins, water harvesting will get a lot of great exposure, and we’ll have the opportunity to make a longer, more comprehensive video.
To cast your vote for this video, simply hover your mouse over the video, and you’ll find the ‘Vote’ button is the bottommost of the five icons on the right side.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Consumerism, Deforestation, Education, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Village Development, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Anthea Hudson October 18, 2012
Water — without it life on earth could not exist and yet it is often treated with little care or respect, especially by more affluent communities. Clean drinking water is actually a valuable and diminishing resource, due to all the toxins that are carelessly allowed to make their way into our water systems.
These statistics about water may surprise you and give you a greater understanding about just how important it is that we protect water, especially our potable water.
75% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water — however 97% of that water is the salt water of our oceans. That only leaves 3%, but 2% of that is frozen and only 0.5% is actually usable fresh water! Just 0.5% of all the water on Earth. Kinda brings the point home, doesn’t it?
As you can probably see, it is therefore vital that we help our children understand the value of water, the importance of protecting it and ways in which they can use it more sustainably.
Below are some ideas for introducing these concepts to your children… some of them quite a bit of fun, but with very important messages behind them.Comments (4)
Commercial Farm Projects, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Earth Banks, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Storm Water, Water Harvesting — by Campbell Wilson October 12, 2012
Article and diagrams copyright © Cam Wilson
At the top end of the Marshalls’ property on the Southern Tablelands, NSW, Australia, the creek is bone dry. This spot, fed by 1250 Ha of native forest, has been that way for 10 weeks now.
Meanwhile, 1.2 km downstream at the base of their property, flowing past the fodder poplars, the bamboo and the ferns and dense native revegetation (where only blackberry stood twelve years ago), is one and a half megalitres of the crystal clear water you see in the photo above; every day. Since the creek dried up at the top of their property, 120 megalitres is a conservative estimate of the base flow that ‘the sponge’ that is ‘Sunningdale’ has continued to release to the landscape below. This is despite a catchment increase between the two sites of only 8% and five out of the last six months of rainfall being well below the average.
What’s the catch? If you’d like a bit of background on how a property like Peter and Kate Marshall’s, which has reinstated the original floodplain hydrological processes, is able to store and then slowly release water, check out the simple diagrams below.Comments (4)
Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Irrigation, Land, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Swales, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Chris McLeod September 29, 2012
I always thought that rain was a nurturing and gentle aspect of nature. You know how it is, you get a bit of rain and it helps all of the plants to grow, provides water for us and the animals and generally stops the place from drying out. That was my thinking back in an urban environment. In that area, the drainage infrastructure had been developed and maintained over the past 120 years and it just worked. In fact, the infrastructure was so good you never really thought about it.
In a rural location however, there is usually little to no infrastructure, so any change you make to the landscape will change the way water interacts with that landscape. Winter rain here is usually quite gentle with many hours of sustained drizzle and relatively high humidity. These conditions generally don’t present too many challenges. Or so I thought.Comments (0)
Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Consumerism, Economics, Irrigation, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Society, Storm Water, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 25, 2012
This is a must-watch video for all who need water (the rest of you are excused). I actually covered a lot of the material in the video in my Water Worries post, which I put together several years ago (but being one of the earliest posts on this site, when we had a far smaller audience, it barely got read, as evidenced by the fact that it didn’t attract even a single comment). This is a critical topic, and I’m pleased to say that, as did my earlier article, this video doesn’t just point out the problems, but also has an holistic view of the situation, so it also directs one to what must, and must not, be done about it.Comments (7)
Australia’s Murray-Darling River Basin: Proposed Plan Another Brick in the Wall for Water Privatisation
Irrigation, Regional Water Cycle, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Ian Douglas August 21, 2012
Comments yesterday by the Federal Minister for water, Tony Burke, following criticism of the proposed Basin Plan by the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, provide long overdue acknowledgement that a significant proportion of Australians do not approve of current water reform.
The public is gradually coming to the realisation that, when given the responsibility of drafting the Basin Plan, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority was handed a chalice containing the most noxious of poisons – privatised water.Comments (0)
Conservation, For Sale, Irrigation, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle — by Tracey Buckley July 25, 2012
These are essential tools for gauging one’s rainfall when monitoring the establishment of a permaculture project. All sites need a rain gauge so that you can carefully assess the amount of rain that you get over a period of time.
In some of the more arid regions it is essential that you know how much rain occurs and how quickly that rain arrives as in some of the desert regions of the world the bulk of the rain arrives in a small amount of time, with large rainfalls once or twice a year. It is essential to have these recorded so that you can carefully assess your expected growth rates and establishment phases — it’s an important part of making judgments on how quickly you can move forward with your pioneering systems and the results that can be expected. It is one of the best assessment tools that a permaculture practitioner can use to gauge their research results.
Whether you are actually timing your tree planting period or gauging your window of opportunity to establish a cover crop when pioneering a food crop or food forest, these instruments are very simple yet extremely essential for people everywhere to take their rain readings to be recorded in a diary along with the crop / harvest results and system establishment research photographs.Comments (2)