Our environment is progressively getting degraded because of over-exploitation of natural resources. In a degraded landscape with little or no tree cover, and subsequently little soil cover, rainwater is not able to percolate into the ground. We lose rich top soil with this running water, which flows away into the streams. It is a vicious cycle — no top soil, no vegetation, increased run off of water and further erosion of top soil – exacerbated by climate crisis resulting either in prolonged drought periods or sudden floods.
Well-designed water harvesting earthworks such as rainwater harvesting on roofs, ditches, ponds, swales and dams are the most effective way to channel water into productive use. The result can be increased food production, higher groundwater levels, reduced irrigation needs, reforestation and enhanced ecosystem resilience. These earthworks help to restore hydrological cycles with specific land-use techniques and biological resources, creating water security for people along with renewed viability for ecosystems.
Water Resilience Project
We have started a water resilience project in 2019 thanks to the financial support of Visegrad Fund. We offered a unique, practical, 5-day Water Retention workshop, in autumn 2019 that showed the main techniques that can be applied to conserve water and build soil on landscape level (rainwater collection and storage, pond, swale and earth dams construction). Selected partners from each of the Visegrad countries were invited to learn about water retention techniques and spread the knowledge in their respective countries about water earthworks, along with few other participants (mostly farmers) from nearby countries. They learnt to understand the principles of permaculture design in earthworks: reading the site, interpreting contour maps and using surveying tools. The course had a strong practical component – we rented a digger and made a real pond.
On the 26th October we will plant a water resilient, edible forest with many nut species on a degraded area with children. Participants will get to know diverse edible tree species, and children as well as adult will be offered workshops during this event about different water conservation techniques.
Harmony of Culture Foundation from Poland
Zengő-Mozgó Egyesület from Hungary
Ranch Srbsko, s.r.o. from Czech Republic
The Society for the Sustainable Culture (STRUK) from Slovakia.
Water Retention Workshop: September 29 – October 3, 2019
- Discussion on the connection between the water cycles and climate change; principles of and technical solution to water retention in landscapes and in small water cycles;
- Calculation of rainwater runoff from land to design the most effective solutions to water retention;
- Designing creative retention measures at the landscape level;
- Check dams; Pond and Swale – how to do them; topography analysis; soil absorption capacities analysis; landscape preservation and design;
- Surveying pond and marking out spillway and swale;
- Building of a rainwater retention pond with spillway;
- Constructing check dams;
- Building of a swale;
- Evening discussions, workshops and films.
About the main teacher: Michal Kravčík
Michal is an experienced Slovak water management engineer, hydrologist and environmentalist. He was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 1999, for his contributions to the water management of the Torysa River. He also worked several years at the Slovak Academy of Sciences. He promotes ecological solutions for integrated river basin management and landscape restoration. Michal Kravčík had published numerous works, including “New Water Paradigm – Water for the Recovery of Climate” in 2007. He is a founding member and Chairman of an NGO called People and Water. For many many years he has been organizing summer courses on water retention in Slovakia. More information about his work: https://www.theflowpartnership.org/people-and-water