water retention landscapes

the combination 

of different water retention measures and techniques, such as ponds, lakes, bogs, ditches, and terraces, forms water retention landscapes.

They slow water runoff, hold the rain where it falls, and then slowly channel the water through the landscape. Whenever possible, these durable, self-sustaining structures are built of natural materials while avoiding concrete or sheeting. This allows water to slowly and steadily diffuse into the earthen body and recharge the groundwater. On the surface, water retention measures form various (alternating) wet biotopes and thus contribute to the restoration of the water cycle.

An important role in the planning of water retention landscapes is also played by the type of land use, which should be based on perennial living vegetation as far as possible and have a soil-building effect, e.g. agroforestry systems, regenerative biological agriculture or holistic pasture management.  

international best-practice examples

Here are a few examples and role models that inspire and guide us.

water retention landscape in Tamera, Portugal 

In southern Portugal, an ecovillage has been developing one of the most sophisticated water retention landscapes in the world since 2007. An interconnected system of water retention basins, small and large lakes and so-called swales (small ditches and dams adapted to the contour lines, in which the water collects during heavy rains and is distributed into the lakes), was created. All interventions in nature were made with natural building material available on site. All water-bearing areas allow infiltration of precipitation water, raising the water table.

Revitalization of rivers in Rajasthan, India 

The water revolution was started in Rajasthan by the famous "Waterman of India", Dr. Rajendra Singh Rana. Together with local people, he built thousands of "Johads" (percolation ponds) to revive wells and rivers in the Rajasthan desert and won the Stockholm Water Prize for water, river and forest conservation.
With the rise in groundwater, rivers that had long dried up began to carry water again, in some cases year-round.  250,000 wells were filled again. More than a million people found drinking water again, and the arable land multiplied. Some of the population that had previously migrated returned thanks to the restored livelihoods. The average temperature in the region was reduced by 2 degrees Celsius.

Regeneration of Loess Plateau, China 

On the loess plateau, a land area the size of the Netherlands was restored according to permaculture principles, with funding from the World Bank and the Chinese government. Local farmers' incomes have more than doubled, erosion has been reduced by 100 million tons of sediment annually, flood risk has been reduced, and grain production has increased dramatically. 
The changes were brought about by the differentiation and designation of ecological and economic areas, terracing, sediment traps, dams, and other methods of infiltrating rain.

Team Wasserretention