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How to catch water

One of the first projects we took on when we returned last year was preparing our land at Back to La Tierra for rainfall. You only need one summer in Andalusia to remember the importance of water. The scorching heat of August is relentless especially considering the fact that by then it will not have rained for at least 3 months, most years more than that, and it can take another 3 for the next rain.

So last week was literally a gift from heaven. We had about 10 days of daily rain varying between drizzle, thunder and hail storms. In several regions the hail was so intense that it looked like snow and left the streets and mountains in an unrecognisable white cover. I have never experienced this before in the 40 years I call this home. It was definitely a great test for our water management and swales design.

A swale is one of those words you have probably never heard before but that will be in the back of your mind from now on... you will see it because you now know it and nothing will ever be the same again :)

Recent droughts and climate change have led to some serious global discussions about water conservation and sustainable ways to grow plants without a lot of extra irrigation. One of the best ways to save water, essential in these Mediterranean areas, is by creating a swale. One of the best ways to prevent floods is also by creating swales. See the explanation in the diagram of how it works and/or check this link.

It is always very upsetting to see the damage that extreme rainfall causes, several lives are lost each time. If you have experienced damage in the area where you live, try to observe what has caused it, where the water flows, how it can be slowed down, redirected and/or collected. If it is not on your property speak to the local councillor at your town hall, inform them and request to contract advisors on making swales and other structural design changes, we really need active citizenship to create awareness in the importance of urban planning. If you would like advice for your own land/garden Paul is available for landscape design suggestions. You can contact him via email on

We are looking forward to a sunny and green week!

Hasta la vista,

Paul & Marina

(credits image

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