The Permaculture Team of Transition Joshua Tree presented four water harvesting and water conserving techniques in their booth at the Joshua Basin Water District Water Awareness Day on March 29. These techniques were (1) Contour Swales, (2) Sweat Pods, (3) Wicking Beds, and (4) Sponge Wells. None of them are commonly known, and the public was clearly excited to learn about them. We had a lot of action and discussion at our booth. To make the concepts easier and more fun to understand, they were shown as a variety of tabletop models. Accompanying the models was a free booklet with instructions, drawings and lots of tips.
The Permaculture Team would like to remind everyone that one of the most important things we can do to conserve irrigation water (which comes from our finite and ancient aquifer) is to thickly cover (mulch) the watering basins around our desert trees and shrubs. Any irrigation should be put under the mulch layer, not on top. At least a six-inch depth of mulch is recommended for tree wells. This greatly reduces soil moisture evaporation and thereby cuts irrigation needs. You can mulch with organic debris such as straw, tree and garden trimmings, palm leaves, etc. Rocks are one of the best-kept desert mulch secrets. They are excellent at keeping moisture in the ground.
All of the models and information will be presented again at our booth at the Earth Day Festival in Yucca Valley on April 16. We look forward to the next opportunity to share this extraordinary permaculture information with the community.
Posted by Jill Giegerich and Janet Tucker