A Natural Solution to Drought

In the video below, Australian permaculture guru Geoff Lawton challenges the energy intensive system of water management employed in the southwestern US and California.

He gives the example of the canal off the Colorado River, which presently transports water 300 miles to Tucson. Increasing evaporation has made the water so saline that it’s useless for irrigation – except for golf courses. A sinking water table means massive energy is required to elevate the water prior to transporting it. In fact, providing water to Tucson is the single biggest consumer of electricity in the state of Arizona.

Lawton contrasts this energy intensive approach to water management with a system of swales* built in the Sonora Desert 80 years ago under the Works Project Administration (Roosevelt’s New Deal job creation program). After 80 years, the swales are full of lush grasslands and trees that have self-planted.

This low-energy design approach, which works with nature rather than against it, can be used to transform any desert region into productive food forests.

The video has been censored from YouTube, but you can see it at http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/73485-an-oasis-in-the-american-desert

In the second video Lawton takes viewers through a food forest he built, by constructing swales, in the Jordanian desert.

*A swale is an artificial ditch on contour used to slow and capture water runoff by spreading it horizontally across the landscape, thus facilitating runoff infiltration into the soil


9 thoughts on “A Natural Solution to Drought

  1. We here in the U.S. don’t want what this dude is proposing. We want drought and we want water shipped in and we want to pay top dollar for poisoned food. We are Americans and we want what we want and that’s all we want. Please try to understand this Dr. Bramhall. Tell dude to take a hike. We’re fine!


    • I hear you loud and clear, Shelby. I also hear voices of resistance coming through from people who are reclaiming their freedom by rejecting the corporate lifestyle we’ve been conditioned to adore. Right now we are going through a very painful process here in New Plymouth, as those of us who are fighting for a Maori seat on our local council confront the rigid red-necked racism of some of the white racists. We had a very painful session this morning that ended with one of the Maori women announcing that it was high time for white people to take responsibility for their own ignorance.


      • “….that ended with one of the Maori women announcing that it was high time for white people to take responsibility for their own ignorance..”….or get on the next boat or plane outta here!”

        I can hear her loud and clear! Hear! Hear!


  2. Pingback: Permaculture Technology: Greening the Desert | The Most Revolutionary Act

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