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Paul continues his review of Sepp Hozler’s Desert or paradise with Mark, Matt, Opalyn, et al.

Restoring hydrological balance – the creation of water landscapes.

“Watch how water moves in a natural stream, and create water landscapes accordingly.  A lake should be built to enable three ways of water movement, with curved banks to allow a constant flow, aligned with the wind to allow wave movements, and deep and shallow zones to make the water move because of differences in temperature.  [...]” They aren’t quite sure what he means by “curved banks” – it could mean a meandering shape, or just no straight edges.  Looking at photos of his work, Sepp does like meandering ponds, so that’s probably what he means.

“[…] The ground acts like a water reservoir itself when it is covered with forest and other natural vegetation.  It is saturated like a sponge – millions of roots hold billions of drops of water which are released slowly, even when it has not rained for a while.  This way, the underground reservoir keeps being fed.”  Paul has seen this in effect when looking at a patch of unharvested conifers on a hill with a road cut in it – the road was drawing a good 3-4 gallons per minute during the dry season.  

“[…] Humans impose their ideas upon nature without considering the existing geology or shape of the landscape.  People put in pond liners and concrete with great effort.  That might work for a while, but it is ineffective, expensive and will lead to more disasters.  Water damned up against nature can cause enormous damage.”  Creating a massive hydroelectric damn isn’t nearly as good as a series of 300 ponds with the same surface area.  That said, a large pond will probably work better than a few hundred puddles, so scale is defiantly a factor.

“Contour lines and natural water courses are a valuable aid when designing a retention space.  Using them makes life and work much easier – I use what is already there.  The water divides materials for me and naturally creates layers of fine materials that are waterproof. […]” This isn’t quite universal – for example if you too much topsoil, the life in it will keep poking holes in the sediment and let the water escape.

Relevant Threads

Desert or Paradise thread
Desert or Paradise documentary by Sepp Holzer

Sepp Holzer forum

Sepp Holzer's 3-in-1 Permaculture documentaries (Farming, Terraces, and Aquaculture)

Pond forum

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This podcast was made possible thanks to:

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