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My guest for this episode is Brad Lancaster author of the Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond series, of which the first book is now available in a revised and updated second edition.
In this episode Brad and I discuss the value of infiltrating water into the soil so that it becomes a resource that we invest during water rich times and withdraw from that bank only when needed during dry times. As Brad’s work includes more than just drylands the conversation also includes ideas for storing water in rich areas. Along the way we also look at several listener questions including fog harvesting, using living systems to hand wet basements, and observing to find the right match for plants suitable to wet clay soils.
What I really enjoyed about this conversation was Brad’s continued reference to creating and using living systems. This was something reinforced to me during my permaculture education by a teacher training instructor Rico Zook. Rico said that we have to design ourselves out of the system. Whether we are working our backyard or in international aid we are only there for a limited amount of time with a restricted pool of resources. The ideal is that our designs will be integrated to the point that they are resilient and functional when we are no longer available to directly oversee them. I also think of the importance, especially in designing for disasters, or systems that can survive if they are damaged by a storm, negligence, or ill-intent. The principles and ethics of permaculture provide an excellent foundation for that, and Brad’s work adds to the strategies available for harvesting water.
If after listening to this episode you would like to hear another perspective on water harvesting I recommend checking out my earlier interview with Craig Sponholtz of Watershed Artisans. That conversation compliments what Brad said here and reminds me that life is the way to slow down the forces of entropy and recycle resources in the landscape and in our lives.
I know I’ve referred to it before, but when thinking about water I come back to the saying from the disaster preparedness community. We can survive three minutes without air, three hours without shelter, three days without water, and three weeks without food. Water is vital to our health, well-being, and ability to grow food. If we are to build a regenerative civilization using life sustaining systems we need to insure the availability of clean water wherever we wish to live. We need to harvest water. We need to save water when we have a surplus so we can use it when there is a deficit. That is the way that we can borrow from ourselves rather than go into debt to future generations.
Wherever you are on your permaculture journey, I am here to help you. Get in touch.
The Permaculture Podcast
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Until the next time, create a better world each day by taking care of earth, your self, and each other.