As Australians face a warming climate, it is increasingly important that we consider water management that works with nature to keep moisture in the land we steward. This is equally necessary for large rural properties, smaller gardens and urban backyards. Rehydrating landscapes involves mimicking natural processes to increase the water-holding capacity of the soil, storing the water under and in the land, not on top of it.
Rehydrating landscapes relies on small and slow solutions, and therefore the benefits start small and build over time. Benefits include reduced erosion and salinity and increased soil health and productivity. But they also increase your property’s resilience to fire, drought and some aspects of flooding; and are a key part of any permaculture disaster risk management plan.
Build Organic Matter
The best and simplest way to rehydrate landscapes is to build organic matter – or humus – in the soil. Lush, healthy soil with a rich structure and diverse soil life enables water to infiltrate deeply into hard, dry or clay soils. It also creates an environment that retains water because of the capacity of humus, the soil’s organic component, to store it. There are a number of ways to build soil humus: