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Permaculture Challenges: Flooding

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

We arrived at the farm on a two week vacation with the intent to do the plantation. By now we had finished marking out all the holes and put a decent labour force to dig out all the holes. Now remember this was barren land, which was full of stones. We had to add a lot of gobar khaad (cow dung), bone ash and sand into each hole, as we dug them. Each hole was about 3 feet x 3 feet in size/ We dug over 1000 holes for the first round of plantation which included the peripheral wind break, the forest and the orchard. We also dug a trench along the fence to plant the bougainvillea.

However, the weekend we arrived, there was a heavy downpour, and the entire property got flooded! We were surprised at how much water came down the nearby hills and ran through our property. The village pond was the only store of this water, and it overflowed quite quickly. The water flowed quite fast, taking most of the top soil with it. The pond overflowed over the damaged weir or bund breaking the structure further. It looked like complete and utter destruction!

We were worried about the plantation plan. We only had two weeks of leave, and planting the trees was our main objective. But the farm didn't look like we could plant anything here!

However, the next morning, once the rains stopped, everything was clear! The water disappeared entirely except for the filled up pond, and the ravaged soil was dry and dusty again once the sun came out. We were surprised at the speed of water run off, and I guess given the natural slopes it was only to be expected. We realised that in our two weeks at the farm, we would have to focus as much on water management, as on tree plantation. Else the small sapling we plant would get eroded by the rain, or would rot in that amount of water!

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