Water and Aquaculture

Water is the source of all life. From the rich diversity of the ocean to the aquatic organisms of the soil, our bodies are nourished and hydrated by water. It is a precious resource increasingly under threat of privatization and pollution. This gift calls us to be creative, conscious, and conservative in the ways we use and recycle water.

Smart water design can reduce our water use by over 50%, with simple implements like rainwater catchment and greywater systems. Aquaculture harnesses the natural ecological relationship between marine life (fish) and plants. Become water wise as you get acquainted with a variety of ways to store and conserve water, from creative plumbing to soil management.


1. Lecture 37 - Water

There are places around the world, like in Southeast Asia, where people have no choice but to implement conservative water designs, or else they would have no water at all. There's a lot we can learn from studying these places. Larry talks more about water-wise gardening, inviting the wilderness into your garden design, and plant guilds.

2. Lecture 38 - Water

Fresh water is an incredibly precious resource. There are many creative ways to use water conservatively. Americans can reduce their water use in half simply by installing rainwater catchment and greywater systems, which are very easy things to do. Larry discusses greywater systems, smart water designs in the garden (such as berms, swales, and weirs), looking at water from a global perspective, and includes discussion on how to describe permaculture to the general public.

4. Lecture 40 - Water + Climate

Taking on permaculture design is a huge task. It's easy to get super excited and try to do everything all at once. Often, when people take on more than they can handle, the project will fail within two years. There's a lot to observe and learn about in your environment - the climate itself is a force to be reckoned with. Learn about the pros and cons of biodynamic farming, the difference between climate and microclimate, climate regions, how to learn from animals, and knowing what to plant in your particular climate and microclimate.

5. Lecture 41 - Water + Design

Length: httpsvimeocom65607971 minutes

Sometimes you design for water to flow a certain way and it doesn't go there. Conventional perspectives might see this is a failure in water design, but permaculture sees it as an opportunity for a creative solution. If flooding happens to create a moat or pond, why not put a boat on it and grow some fish? Now you have a solution. Max shows the class a walkable swale, something he invented. Learn more about swales, how to prevent mosquitos from infesting your swale, the trail swale berm system (TSB), curb cuts, maximizing edge, and planning for catastrophe.

6. Lecture 42 - Water

How would we treat water differently if we saw it as a universal, sacred healing element? Could we work with it and use it with greater respect? By studying and understanding water dynamics, we can harness its regenerative power to nourish life rather than having poor water design destroy life. In this lesson, Max shows us a macro to micro perspective of water, from landscape to garden level. Learn about different ways to use water to nourish life - through swales, mulch basins, wetland systems for blackwater filtration, and aquaponics. Also, a special tale of how the modern day toilet came to be.

7. Lecture 43 - Water

With a little creativity, water can be managed efficiently and almost effortlessly. Water is the source of all life, and as such is filled with living organisms. At the heart of good water care is understanding the ecosystem of water. In this lesson, learn about innovative ways to filter water, store and hold water, improve microbial health, and using water to make compost tea.

8. Lecture 44 - Greywater

Water seems plentiful, but that's because it's made artificially cheap. Greywater systems can reduce our water usage by at least one-third. It's an old idea, but new to mainstream minds. In this lesson, Roy Nordblum explains greywater percolation tests, and introduces a variety of ways to design and use greywater systems.

9. Lecture 45 - Greywater

Greywater systems can be as simple as piping bathwater to the garden. They can also be more complicated with sitting tanks and filtration beds. You can definitely expect a good amount of digging. Here, Roy describes the process of setting up the greywater system and the class takes part in a service learning project.

10. Lecture 46 - Aquaponics

As water is a precious resource, it makes a lot of sense to implement a system like aquaponics. The average aquaponics system uses 70% less water than conventional farming methods - the best systems use 98% less! Aquaponics grows fish and vegetables in a symbiotic relationship, and can even be used to nurture endangered fish. In this lesson, enjoy a visit to some beautiful and effective aquaponics systems around the world.

11. Lecture 47 - Aquaponics

A really cool thing about permaculture is that you can weave together different principles and design methodologies to create something with multiple functions and outcomes. Talk about efficiency! This is exactly how nature works. Rooftops are a huge contributor to global warming, but with a little creativity, they can instead provide multiple functions and resources. This lesson discusses one way to stack functions and gain multiple outcomes - aquaponics, a system of growing fish and plants at the same time. This self-cleansing system makes for an abundant harvest!

12. Lecture 48 - Greywater

Roy leads a workshop on greywater, starting with a talk and then engaging the students in hands-on work.