Water Retention Landscape

Lake No 1 in Tamera
Lake No 1 in Tamera, Healing Biotope, Portugal

We want to create a water retention landscape in Living Gaia. The planning of these water retention spaces is one of our priorities. They make a significant contribution to healing the water cycle of the earth and thus they are a key to healing in general. We plan to organize Seminars with Sepp Holzer from Austria and Bernd Müller from Tamera. On the long term we are planning to build a training center for water retention landscapes in cooperation with Tamera.

What is a water retention landscape?

Excerpts of the text written by Bernd Müller, Global Campus Study Text 401-00, Tamera:

Desertification resulting from incorrect water management

We humans have the knowledge of how to transform deserts and semi-deserts back into living landscapes traversed by fresh spring-water streams. Desertification is in most cases not a natural phenomenon but the result of incorrect water management on a global scale. Deserts do not arise because of a lack of rain, but because humans treat water in the wrong way.

The healthy picture of the water cycle looks like this: The rain that falls on the earth is absorbed by a layer of humus that soaks it up like a sponge. Before the global deforestation and the industrial agriculture there was a living fertile soil layer. This humus soil layer, which was shaded and rooted by plants, soaked up the rainwater and thus gave the water time to seep into the deeper ground layers and fill up the earth-body. In this way a saturated earth-body acted as a storage organ. There, underground, the water rests at different depths, sometimes over long periods of time. We still know little about what really happens to the water down there in the darkness. What we can say is that the water matures there by mineralising itself and taking on information. This ability to take on and store information is one of the essential and most mysterious qualities of water. At different depths in the saturated earth the water cools down differently. Where it is the coldest it rises back to the surface as mature spring-water.

Sepp Holzer and Bernd Mueller explain the construction, the effect and the basic ideas for the construction of a water retention landscape: a local and natural solution to the global problem of disturbed water balance.

Healing Nature through water retention landscapes

Today the earth-body, the humus topsoil, has disappeared from a large percentage of the Earth’s surface. The erosion process, especially over the last decade, has progressed so rapidly and extensively that one can speak of a global disaster. This is why we must not delay ourselves by developing ecosystems which create a thin layer of humus only after thirty, forty or even more years. We need this balancing sponge-effect sooner. In order to

complete the water cycle again we have to find a way in which the water can be absorbed by the earth despite the missing topsoil layer. This is how the idea of Water Retention Landscapes developed.

Water Retention Landscapes are systems for the restoration of the full water cycle by retaining the water in the areas where it falls as rain. A Water Retention Landscape consists of a series of interconnected retention spaces, from pond-sized up to lake-sized, in which the rainwater can collect behind a dam constructed from natural material. The retention spaces themselves are not sealed with concrete or any artificial film, so that the water can slowly but steadily diffuse into the earth-body.

The term ‘Water Retention Landscape’ is always connected with the concept of nature-healing. The construction of Water Retention Landscapes is an active and effective answer to the destruction of nature. In Tamera we have gained this knowledge from the Austrian permaculture specialist Sepp Holzer with whom we have been working together intensively for some years. There are no regions of human inhabitation unsuitable for the construction of Water Retention Landscapes. Wherever ecosystems have been destroyed or degraded, Water Retention Landscapes can and should be created, on every type of land, in every climate zone, on every hillside, and especially in areas with low precipitation as here they are particularly important. The less the amount of precipitation that falls in an area, and the greater the length of time between rainy periods, the more urgent the creation of a Water Retention Landscape becomes.

Water Retention Landscapes are the healing impulse urgently required by the Earth and all her creatures. And they can and must arise in every place where people regain the courage, strength and also of course the knowledge needed to create them.

Getting to know the being of water

The first step in the change of thinking begins with a new perception of water itself. A water retention space is not only to be understood technically but also exists in order to give an understanding of the being of water to a new kind of engineers. A water retention space has to be shaped in a way that the water does not stagnate, but on the contrary is able to move according to its being.

Water is not only a physical or chemical substance that the human may deal with at his convenience or merely according to industrial norms. Water is a living being. We modern people have to learn to understand this all over again. The shaping of the water retention spaces is therefore not arbitrary. We observe water: How does it want to move? Which shapes of banks does it like? Which temperature and which differences in temperature does it like? Does it like to form waves or not? All of these aspects are incorporated into our work.

As with every living being, water also needs to be allowed the freedom to move in accordance with its being. Water wants to roll, swirl, curve and meander – then it remains vital and fresh. By such movement it purifies itself, at the same time it also calms down and has time to seep into the earth-body.

Quelle: Global Campus Study Text 401-00, Tamera