Fighting Desertification: The Vallerani System

The Vallerani System

This blog post is the fourth of the series of our in-depth look on the Harvesting of Rainwater Checklist The Vallerani System! In 2015 I was introduced to The Vallerani System by Rhamis Kent during a Permaculture Design Course. Rhamis Kent will be back to teach World Permaculture Association’s Permaculture Design Course again in February of 2019! The “Vallerani System” (VS) is a new approach to a technical and socio-economic integrated management of human and natural resources. It consists of a method of working arid and semi-arid land to bring life back and restore the degraded soil.

Fighting Desertification

Desertification is a type of land degradation in which a relatively dry area of land becomes increasingly arid, typically losing its bodies of water as well as vegetation and wildlife. Desertification happens when land becomes overgrazed and exploited. The Vallerani System plan to fight desertification by using the Delfino’s Plow. Then reusing the hard compacted soil, harvesting rainwater, cultivating areas and planting a diversity of different seeds.

Delfino’s Plow

Dr. Venanzio Vallerani invented and patented Delfino’s plow.  The plow works by creating a pattern system of micro-basins and underground storage compartments, which will harvest and store the rainwater.  By doing this, allows the compacted soil to be broken up and then allowing the harvested rainwater to be absorbed and go deeper into the soil. The pattern of the micro-basins reduces the amount of evaporation as well as the amount of soil erosion. The increased amount of harvested rainwater between the plow lines improves the fertility of soil and crop production.

The Great Green Wall Project

 The Great Green Wall of the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative is a mission in Africa to attack climate change and desertification with a great mosaic green flowing landscape. Eight years after the creation of the Delfino’s Plow in 1996 The Desert Reclamation and Rehabilitation of the Sahelian Environment Using The Vallerani Water Harvesting System was born.

Reforestation On The Rise

We depend on forest recovery to help with soil erosion, preserve wildlife habitat, air quality,  increase the carbon sequestration, establish a seed source for recovery, as well as provide social and economic advantages. Planting trees in the desert are an important mission because they produce clean water for the environment through evapotranspiration. Trees collect water from the atmosphere through condensation, plus reduce the effect of wind, through their shade will reduce evaporation of the soil – through organic matter they live and in symbiosis with microorganisms increase organic matter in the soil that will retain more water.

Micro-catchment Water Harvesting

A micro-catchment is a specially contoured area with slopes and berms designed to increase catchment of rain runoff. When the Delfino’s plow is used to make these micro-catchment systems, they are ideally suited for large-scale reclamation work.

Flexible Alternatives

One great advantage of the Vallerani System is that this rainwater harvesting system offers flexible variations of settings. A site in Jordan tested continuously versus intermittent contour ridges, closely spaced vs. widely spaced shrubs, and closely vs. widely spaced ridges. These variations allowed the testing of different sizes of micro-catchment system patterns. In each system, they measured run-off, soil loss, soil moisture, shrub growth and compared to a system with no rainwater harvesting methods applied. You can read more about this assessment and the Vallerani System here.

The Community And The Vallerani System

Dr. Venanzio Vallerani believed fighting desertification is the solution to poverty. He wanted to increase the productivity and the use of all the abandoned barren desert land. He needed a water harvesting system the not only helps the land but the people within these depleted environments. Countries such as Chad, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, and Tunisia implemented The Vallerani System. The Vallerani system has the people working together planting, picking seeds, harvesting, and being sustainable. The use of technology and machinery for a water harvesting method doesn’t replace hard work within a community but, encourages change!

Another Method Of Rainwater Harvesting

Dr. Venanzio Vallerani believed that desertification could not occur by hands alone. This Rainwater harvesting checklist, we are going in depth into the different ways we can accomplish desertification. Each site has its restrictions and abundances that have to be examined to find the best method. Geoff Lawton has achieved success in the desert using Swales and other methods. However, with whichever method you decide to go with, we are coming out a little greener.

Stay Tuned. . . Next Monday’s Blog Post will be on the Imprinting System

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