Water for Life: Towards Jordan and IPC10
Water is the condition of life. Without it organisms from bacteria to birds of prey can neither flourish nor survive. For Sepp Holzer
“wasser ist leben.” (water is life.)
For Brad Lancaster
“Rain is the embodiment of life.” — Rainwater Harvesting For Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, p. 1
Water can be a limiting factor in plant growth and ecosystem function where it is scarce or irregular and water can be a powerful destructive force in the form of flooding, soil erosion and waterlogging where it occurs in great quantity or in disturbed ecosystems.
For P. A. Yeomans
“There can be no satisfactory or permanent agriculture without permanent water supply.”
Yeomans developed a system of design called Keyline which conserves and utilses water where it has hitherto been scarce and, where it is in relative superfluity, directs and distributes its otherwise destructive flow. These possibilities open up from an understanding of pattern in landscape. Increasing moisture or improving drainage improves the biological capacity of a place and its potential to produce yields for human use without ecosystem degredation.
The tremendous value of water combined with the perception of its scarcity derived from its waste makes it a contested resource. The potential for conflict over water will only icrease in the near future with continued misuse and pollution of water and with the desire for big solutions to the problems of climate change, peak oil and the collapse of biological systems. For Vandana Shiva
“Water is a commons because it is the ecological basis of all life.” — quoted in Lancaster, Rainwater Harvesting For Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, p. 16
Water is the theme of this year’s International Permaculture Conference and Convergence in Jordan. There are few better place to consider the human relationship with low energy water harvesting than the home of the Nabateans — an ancient people who created a desert civilization founded on rain water harvesting and conservation.
Only the propagation of methods like those outlined by Yeomans in his works on Keyline or those made eminently accessible by Brad Lancaster in his works on water harvesting earthworks for dryands hold the possibility of avoiding the commodification of and conflict over water which will ensue if all people are not empowered to catch rain where it falls, improve the land of which they are stewards and, on that foundation, develop secure livelihoods.
I hope to learn more about these vital strategies over the coming weeks in Jordan and in Palestine. I will be sharing here what I can of the things I learn during the conference and convergence and in the ensuing time. There is also the possibility of seeing and hearing some of what is going on at IPC10 by having a look at the live streaming.
Water will be a bit of a theme and there may be a bit more action that usual at Perennial Ideas from now up to and after the keyline and regenerative agriculture workshop I will be doing with Darren Doherty of RegenAg and Australia Felix Permaculture in November so check back soon or subscribe to keep up with news from IPC10 and the upcoming regenerative agriculture course.