Part of the Researching Regenerative Practises Blog Series
Restoring natural water retention back into landscapes is an essential task to be undertaken. A scary 1/3 of Earth’s land has been desertified at the hands of humans, causing widespread hunger and thirst. This will only get worse if we don’t take practical action.
Water Retention programs restore the land to a natural form which brings back seasonal rains. By enabling rainwater to be stored on site, these retention zones strategically hold the water during the dry seasons. The water can then by used to to re-establish forests and restore the water ecosystems.
Many regenerative practitioners are designing water retention systems. There are only a few companies that work through the full process of creating decentralised water retention landscapes from start to finish. Elemental Ecosystems is one such organisation and they are seeing amazing results with their work.
“We can’t address climate change without addressing the water cycle disturbance” says Founder Zach Weiss. “Everywhere it’s the same story. The precipitation levels are much higher when it comes, and it comes less often. Large dams and reservoirs are very energy intensive. Smaller decentralised water retention systems are much more efficient. Zach concludes, “It’s not the climate that’s the problem, it’s actually human management” of the land that we need to change.
Elemental Ecosystems are seeing results beyond the land they are specifically working on. The Portugal Tomorrow Village didn’t have enough water when the project started. Now they have a surplus. In a project in Borneo, there has been a 10% increase in rainfall, not just for the local site, but also locations downwind from the site.
Zack’s next goals are to work on upscaling, using a teaching model that will enable students to learn the process, and then franchise Elemental Ecosystems around the world. It is his hope that water retention projects will take off and regenerate water ecosystems on a worldwide scale.
You can listen to Zach Weiss talk about the work of Elemental Ecosystems here: https://player.fm/series/investing-in-regenerative-agriculture/ep-45-zach-weiss-climate-change-is-a-symptom-of-watercycle-disturbance-and-we-can-fix-it
By Hannah Mitchell
Community Support Lead