Food and water

Traditional water management system in the M’Zab Valley in Algeria. © Michel Brodovich.

As the need for basic resources, such as food and water, puts increasing strain on the planet, the consumption patterns and environmental management techniques of local, rural or indigenous people are being increasingly recognized. This includes small-scale production with little surplus and low energy needs, as well as a custodial approach to land and natural resources that avoid waste and resource depletion.

Traditional land management techniques can provide a great source of inspiration for more sustainable approach to freshwater use. Traditional irrigation techniques can be re-established in modern development projects and ensure a more respectful use of the environment. In Algeria, populations of the Saharan oases, confronted with population growth and environmental deterioration, have realized that by restoring traditional irrigation techniques they are supporting practices that respect the environment. They chose to restore palm trees and rehabilitate foggaras, an ingenious, effective and sustainable traditional irrigation system consisting of underground galleries that drain water by the force of gravity. Water is captured at depth and transported by canals that do not damage the ecosystem.

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