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Each year there was less and less water in this farmer's well
In the past 30 years Indian agriculture has depleted groundwater resources so severely that NASA issues perpetual warnings to the government concerning inherent dangers to the population. The need to cycle water back to depleted aquifers has become a matter of life and death.
But India is not alone in committing this error. The same dire situation can now be found in many parts of the world. Driven by a rise in population and irresponsible farming methods across the planet, groundwater depletion is quickly developing into a crisis of epic proportions.
But Permaculture can help...
In the photo above, a farmer from Ettimadai Village in Tamil Nadu walks his field in the dry season. While working here we counted 10 bore wells, each one 300 + meters deep...and all dry.
Recharging a dying well
So, with Permaculture as our guide, we designed and implemented a simple groundwater recharge system on the farmer's land...
The first step was to create a "swale" slightly off contour.
Like a great arm reaching out across the landscape, this gesture interrupts the flow of water across the field and directs it into a catchment pond, just uphill from the well. From there the water seeps into the ground and makes its way into the farmer's well.
Measuring and marking the contour line for the swale, prior to digging
No concrete, no pumps. This action took only two days to complete and immediately jumpstarted the vital process of subterranean water recharge.
A double monsoon feeds the area every year, and in the first season the farmer's well rose by 5 meters. No worries about it overflowing though. Even with the additional water, the level of the well was still down 30 meters from the time when the farmer was a boy. But now, with the help of Permaculture design, it's coming up again.
Nearly every farmer in every culture will tell you that he does not receive enough rain. But is lack of rain really the problem?
Respecting contour ensures the rainwater distributes evenly
To reverse the trouble with this farmer's well we did not increase the amount of rain falling on his land. Obviously. We simply created a design that valued the rain. Nature took care of the rest.
Farmer's well before
Same well after one season of groundwater recharge
The techniques are simple.
The benefits are obvious.
All that is needed is the decision to act.
Would you like to learn how to do this?
Sign up for a course here to learn how...
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