News hardware In the midst of groundwater drought, here is an almost forgotten medieval technology for “sowing” water
Groundwater in France is difficult to fill and some regions impose restrictions so as not to run dry. However, a solution exists and does not require colossal resources or ultra-advanced innovation.
The current situation is such that more and more water is demanded and yet the sources are getting smaller and smaller. The big problem is that most mountain water from melting snow on the peaks finds its way directly into the ocean quickly. A water cycle so fast that only captures a small part of the water mass.
So we end up with water tables that are falling more and more and which fail to renew themselves. One of the culprits is the concretization of our towns and villages. Instead of being absorbed by the earth and filling the water tables, this water ends up trickling down to the streams. Results: there are more and more floods.
A real paradox, having a flood at one time and another sorely lacking the precious resource. Yet there is a solution to retain this water and slow the water cycle, or at least bring it back to a normal rate. This technology has been used since the medieval age and it is only now being rediscovered.
A medieval technology that is not revolutionary
Roadblocks are short-term solutions that are also dwindling. Water reservoirs are no longer sufficient to irrigate the fields below the mountains. Keeping the water on the surface is therefore not the right solution. Building a dam also poses major environmental problems, especially for biodiversity. The large-scale solution is not natural. It is, in a way, the strong method for solving a problem that is nevertheless basic.
The objective of the method is to retain as much water as possible in the mountain. Instead of guiding water to streams and then rivers, it is necessary to make it penetrate evenly into the mountain.
When the first snow melts, that’s when the technology comes into place. This is called irrigation ditches. They make it possible to redirect the water towards the bottom of the mountains, directly by passing it through the heart of the latter. The water thus resurfaces lower down, by capillarity. This greatly slows down the water cycle and allows for a more constant flow of blue gold. It is truly a so-called “lowtech” method, therefore without electricity or advanced technology.
The irrigation ditches return the water to chasms which gorge themselves with water and gradually fill the mountain. Vegetation and especially shrubs such as juniper help retain water longer in the soils.
These irrigation ditches existed for hundreds of years and thus redirected water away from the rivers. This is how the rivers did not end up overflowing, causing floods. Agriculture has thus relied for centuries on this method. Forgotten today, she could solve drought problems groundwater along the water cycle.
Some people call this technology “water sowers”. By keeping the water in the earth at the top of the mountains, it slowly returns to trickle down. The mountain thus becomes a gigantic reservoir of water which flows naturally and slowly down below, to the sea.