Preserving An Ancient Egyptian Oasis

Photo by  David Gavi
Photo by David Gavi

Permaculture is about creating permanence and self-sustaining systems. But exactly how long does something need to “work” or be sustained in order to be considered permanent?

Permaculture instructor Andrew Millison found himself asking this very question while analyzing underground water stores in the Dakhla Oasis in Egypt’s Western Desert. While the area gets little rainfall, there is a vast underground water bank that could easily sustain the area’s current population for hundreds of years. But is that long enough? Current climate conditions do not replenish the water stores, so if conditions remain the same, the water will eventually run out.

Luckily, permaculture design systems can create solutions to this, and thanks to ancient local wisdom for surviving the harsh conditions, oasis residents are already implementing many permaculture practices despite having never heard the word “permaculture”.

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