Reblogging because this article is far less about the Ruataniwha Dam than it is about shifting our gaze away from the idea that we cannot change the paradigm of land use, and so we demand more dams, more fertiliser, more technofixes, more industrial thinking. But the solutions lie in the land. In rebuilding a healthy land. And that is good for family-owned farms as well. All the rhetoric toward the big technology solutions are motivated by a way of seeing the land and communities and the environment and what farming is, as all cogs in a factory. It is visionless.
In the lowlands of the Otago Peninsula, within the hill streams that flow into the harbour, there are water wheels. They stand as monuments to what once was, to what ‘functions’ there once were within our society, and – vitally – within our water landscape.
For these water wheels now lie within dry stream-beds, redundant, and could only function now immediately following a rain when the streams flush full. As the bush was cleared, the wetlands (‘swamps’) removed, the tussock replaced with short English grasses, as soil and organic matter were lost from the land, so the ability of the land to slow and store water steadily reduced, and the streams flowed more intermittently. And now when they do flow it is with a more extreme pattern of potentially flash-flood and dry bed. The total water that exits these catchments is probably higher than it once was, but the pattern…
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