Waterwise permaculture & why it's amazing
Permaculture is a sustainable farming and gardening practice that aims to work in harmony with nature while also producing abundant yields. One of the key aspects of permaculture is the conservation of water resources, which is essential for ensuring long-term sustainability.
Permaculture offers a range of strategies that can help to save water and build resilience in the face of water scarcity. This includes the following:
Building healthy soil structure
Healthy soil is essential for growing healthy plants, and it is also a key factor in water conservation. Building a healthy soil structure means the soil can hold water better.
Adding a lot of organic material (compost, mulch, etc.) gives it a greater capacity to hold water when it rains or when you water, so it stays in the soil zone where the plant roots can absorb. Organic matter also helps to improve the soil's texture, which can help to reduce water loss through runoff and increase water retention.
Mulching to curb evaporation
Mulching is the practice of covering the soil surface with a layer of organic material, such as straw, leaves, or wood chips. This layer of mulch can help to curb evaporation, which means that you lose less water to the atmosphere.
Mulch also helps to suppress weeds, which can compete with plants for water resources. Additionally, the organic matter in mulch breaks down over time, adding valuable nutrients to the soil and further improving its ability to retain water.
Passive water capture
Passive water capture refers to the practice of designing landscapes to capture and store rainwater naturally. This can include techniques such as swales, diversion trenches, and contour planting.
These methods allow rainwater to penetrate the soil and stay in the root zone, rather than running off into nearby waterways. Not only does this conserve water, but it also helps to recharge groundwater stores, which can be important during periods of drought.
Simple water harvesting & storing techniques
Permaculture also encourages and trains people in simple water harvesting and storing techniques, such as collecting rainwater from roofs and roads, or capturing water from compacted areas of land.
These techniques can be simple and inexpensive, but they can make a big difference in water conservation. By collecting and storing water, you can ensure that you have a supply of water for your plants during dry periods, without relying on municipal water sources.
Appropriate seasonal crops
Growing crops that are appropriate for the season, which means they are naturally adapted to the local weather conditions and require less water to thrive. Crop diversity and companion planting also contribute to water conservation, as different plants have varying water needs and can shade each other, reducing evaporation and water loss.
Additionally, planting leafy greens and cauliflower in the shade of other plants can reduce their water requirements since they are not exposed to direct sunlight and are less likely to become dehydrated. By implementing these techniques, farmers can reduce their water usage and create a more sustainable and resilient agricultural system.