Preserving Water

October 8, 2014 6:05 pm Published by

“You don’t miss your water until your well runs dry.” – Old Proverb

Water, and more importantly the growing scarcity of clean, fresh, water is a global issue that impacts everything from hygiene, to agriculture, to our ability to quench our own thirst.

Tanzania, and Africa as a whole, could face acute water shortages in the years to come as populations grow, food demands increase, more and more households become middle class, and weather patterns change. Despite being on the shores of Lake Victoria, and despite having recently installed a solar-powered water pump to help us meet our growing needs, at JBFC we are taking a pro-active approach to help ensure that our H2O needs are met and that we are constantly working to reduce the amount of water wasted to the smallest trickle possible.

With the help of permaculture expert Mark Shepard, as well as Sophie and EJ Oppenheimer, JBFC has taken many steps to increase our water security, reduce our waste, increase food production, reduce energy consumption (both human and other!), and, as an added benefit, reduce our daily routines. From implementing systems that “slow down, spread out, and soak in” water, as Mark likes to say, to planting trees that help absorb water and slow soil erosion, to constantly mulching our trees and farm plots, JBFC is taking the necessary steps to become more environmentally friendly and ultimately more self-sustainable.

As mentioned in previous blog posts and in a new permaculture video currently featured on the JBFC Youtube page, this year has seen exciting growth on our farm. We have planted hundreds of trees; increased our vegetable production to the point where we are now donating some of our produce to the surrounding community; diversified our food supply; all the while teaching our girls, students and staff important lessons and skills about food production, sustainability, and the environment.

In our most recent effort to these ends, we have just designed and begun to implement three new gray water systems. The purpose of these systems is to take water that would otherwise be lost (waste water from washing dishes, taking showers, cleaning, doing laundry, etc.) and put it to use on our farm and in our gardens.

 Many of our guests are sure to be familiar with our previously existing gray water systems: at Chris’s house, at the rock house, at the guest house, and along the fence at the girls home. In the past two months we have expanded our gray water systems to include the areas behind dorms C and D, behind dorms E and F, and the laundry area behind the girls’ home, as well as re-developed the gray water system along the girls’ fence.

In the coming months, water that normally would have been discarded will help transform these once unused plots into healthy, productive, self-tending ecosystems that produce tasty food, help JBFC become more self-sustainable, restore our environment, and practically water themselves (less work for all of us!).

Blogger Seth Diemond is JBFC’s Campus Director.

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This post was written by Mainsprings