The Use Vetiver System in semi-arid and arid climates

Canal bank stabilization and protection in Iran

Every now and then one gets a very happy surprise.  This morning I received an email and a photo essay from Jamshid  Fadaei of Iran who with his colleagues and partners of the Iranian Association of Vetiver Promotion have been demonstrating and promoting VS for canal and river bank stabilization and for landfills (see earlier photo essay). The applications look good and the quality of plant material and nursery management is excellent.  Recently we have had enquiries from Tunisia, Egypt and Spain relating to the use of vetiver under similar climate conditions,  The facts are out there that in the Mediterranean and Middle east countries vetiver will grow well if there is water available to get it started – hence planting on canal and river banks. Such plantings prevent bank erosion, slippage, and reduce annual maintenance cost. Additionally the biomass can be cut annually and fed to horses and other livestock.

Many arid and semi-arid countries have serious problems in disposing and treating waste water and effluent from sewage and industrial processes.  These effluents are a serious threats to health, potentially leading to outbreaks of typhoid, cholera and other gastric related diseases,  The Vetiver System can significantly reduce such outbreaks through its ability to treat effluent, to the extent that most of the pathogens are eliminated.  Paul Truong and others have demonstrated this time and time again at both large and small scale.  You may have forgotten how the Red Cross (Norman van’t Hoff of CV Akarwangi) used vetiver for sewage effluent treatment of 2000 new houses at Aceh, Indonesia after the 2004 Tsunami.  Take a look again at that application. – a long with some of the links. You will find other waste-water treatment applications (if land is available) in our library  An interesting application would be to use vetiver for treating wastewater and sewage effluent in the many refugee camps that are found all over the region, as well as in sub-sahara Africa.  We all hope that these camps will be only temporary, and VS would make a very good short and medium term fix.

Another area of application in semi-arid areas is for providing green spaces and beautification of otherwise very dry, drab and dusty urban areas. Alois Kennerknecht of Lima, Peru, did just that as a one man NGO!  His work can be seen in this photo essay.  Note it includes a rather interesting below ground vertical silo composting system that has been developed for these urban dwellers (reduces smell and flies!)

Everything that I have mentioned above is totally doable, it works and achieves good results, it has been technically researched, it is not rocket science, and it is low cost and lasting. Its ready for use  — NOW!

Dick Grimshaw