Friday, 29 May 2015

Nothing New Under The Sun

Rajendra Singh, is dubbed "the Water Man of India" because of his campaigns to try and 'convert the war on water, into peace' .... and none too soon. It's expected that by 2030 AD, 50% of the worlds population could be in water stressed areas (and that by the way includes citizens of the US, Europe and Australia). Although there is over a billion trillion litres of water on the globe, over 97% of the water on Earth is salt water ... so a much slimmer 3% of the potable stuff about.

In order to lead his war he's adopted what's described as an 'old Indian technique' of ploughing in ridges and furrows, which are cut on the perpendicular to the flow of water such as flash floods, rain run-off and temporary streams .... these furrows prevent the water just simply running away, but rather cause the water to pool and then sink into the ground, where it replenishes the ground water supplies which fills wells. The results of this is the returns of forests, wildlife, and fertility to areas that had long been semi-arid, or even deserts.

Now he has won a 'water Oscar' award from Stockholm International Water Institute for his work .... and good on him. However for the sake of factuality it should be pointed out that much the same water management techniques have been used since time immemorial, in all those areas around the world where water has been in limited supply. The ancient Sabeans built the Marib Dam in their land in modern day Yemen (the old Sheba of Queen of Sheba fame).

The Incas Practised Water Management In The Mountains

Both the Incas and Mayans employed similar water management techniques, using stone channels to hold water up in the mountains. Similarly the paddy fields of China, Nepal and the Himalayas do much the same today, and for much the same reasons. Indeed the native Indians in Peru are now being encouraged to dig out and resurrect old Inca water channels and traps, to allow farming to take place, where none has occurred in 500 years.

We are sometimes far to clever for our own good, especially in the West, and a little humility could allow us to learn much from our forbearer's .... we are not the first to face many of the ecological pressures that we see today. Many of our ancestors coped for many centuries with these issues, and did so more successfully than we have in the last 50 yrs.


  1. I often think that if everyone in the UK collected and used rainwater to water their gardens we could save having to recycle, filter and purify millions of litres of water a day, which I imagine could be dwarfed by the quantity saved if we used rainwater to flush our toilets.

    1. Well I bought a medium sized water butt and it filled inside a day or so. I use it for the pond ... or rather I would if parts of my garden haven't been largely under water for the last two months ..... Britain is a wet place LOL.


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