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.
Source: Global Campus Study Text 401-00, Tamera