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DIY waterscape

When I was growing up our family farm had a couple of springs, where water bubbled out of the hillside. One of these fed a pond. Another became a tiny stream.

At some point I decided to reshape this waterscape. I dug out a little basin at the spring, and used the mud I’d dug out to build a tiny dam, perhaps 20cm high, across the stream, keeping the water in my tiny pond. As a finishing touch, I planted the new dam with some reeds, hoping that their roots would stabilise my construction. My very first encounter with ecological engineering!

The photos above show that similar micro-scale adjustments also shape wastewater flows in one of my study villages.

Digging in the dirt is enough to send water off in another direction.

Baked earth bricks, cemented with mud try to convince the water to flow into the wetland

A handful of stones and some mud steer water off the road and into a vegetable garden

Priyanka Jamwal at ATREE taught me the concept of jugaad, a nice term for creative and frugal innovation. These waterscape adjustments seem like good examples. As the final image shows, such small changes can have important impacts.