I recently moved to Lima Peru (where I will be working for the next few months) and was so excited to see this fantastic example of gravity fed sheet irrigation.  I’d seen pictures of this type of system in an Australian keyline design course, but it’s much easier to understand when you see it in person.

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These are photos I took on my morning walk to my office, the park staff were flooding a median strip, linked to an “upstream” series of city parks.  The system is totally graviy fed, based on a carefully laid out mini-irrigation canal system and contoured city parks connected to medians between sections of busy city streets.  By using a flush of water through a 1’wide by 2’deep irrigation canal, and this simple series of low tech mini-dams made of a few peices of wood and a sheet of plastic canvas, the staff were able to send a blanket of water in a slow sheet flow, exactly where they wanted it in the park or median area, so it could soak into the dusty dry ground slowly, rather than running off.  It hardly ever rains here in Lima, most of the moisture blows through in an intense fog that blows in off of the Humbolt current in the Pacific ocean.  I walked passed this same area again this morning (just a few days later), and the ground was covered in a lush flush of grass and the staff were back, mowing the grass and making the city parks nice and pretty little oasis amidst a very grey and dusty city.  There are many birds and insects that I regularly see using these greenways amist a sea of highrises, smoggy traffic, and 8 million people.

  Since I arrived two weeks ago, I’ve had the fortune of being contacted by two different groups working on permaculture projects in Peru.  One is a group of Belgium students coming to assist the community of El Paraiso in Lima with some permaculture gardens, the other is a group starting out with a concept for creating (or joining) an EcoVillage here in South America.  I’ve gathered together some interesting resources on water capture and storage as a result of these contacts, and some basic video resources on permaculture design from friends of mine.

If I get the chance to make it out to the El Pariaso project, I will upload more photos and information in the end of April on their progress.

I also connected with Casa Ninfa, and the Peru permaculture network who are doing great work bringing peramaculture and art classes to local youth and community members here in Lima. info@permaculturaperu.com

“In Peru the Permaculture network is still scattered; We are people interested in permaculture, wanting to establish a strong presence of Permaculture in Peru.  At the Peruvian Institute of Permaculture, which is a small shop in Pachacamac growing little by little,  thanks to the courses we are implementing” (first intro to Permaculture class in Lima this weekend was sold out).  “We have some very interesting, new seeds” (not currently for sale), “we offer assistance for Permaculture projects by connecting projects with locals who can help. We have a www.permaculturaperu.com  website and are on facebook: Peruvian Institute of Permaculture and Permaculture network Peruana, where you can see several photos and find out about our activities, Started 4 years ago, we now have a beautiful program offering free classes in children’s homes, orphanages, schools, and for poor communities and also in a prison. To enable the network to function optimally, we invite all permaculturists, movements in Permaculture or people who know something about it to join us from outside and inside the country, and to send all possible information, especially about the projects going on in Peru.  Our offices are located in Miraflores (section of Lima) at the Cultural Center of holistic arts  on Calle Manuel Irribarren, #337 . Local number 981023696.  Antonio Cilloniz Benavides, Director of the Instituto Peruano de Permacultura”

“En el Perú no hubo una organización o red de permacultura, la gente , proyectos, organizaciones y escuelas están dispersas; nosotros somos varias personas interesadas y reunidas por este tema, queriendo establecer fuertemente la permacultura en Perú, somos parte de la Red y del Instituto Peruano de Permacultura, que por ahora es un pequeño local en Pachacamac donde poco a poco y gracias a los cursos lo estamos implementando; si tenemos algunas semillas muy interesantes, por ahora no a la venta, solo las tenemos disponibles para algún tipo de proyecto de ayuda social o permacultural.
Con respecto al taller del 9 de abril, lamentablemente ya están llenos todos los espacios, no podemos por ahora recibir grupos grandes y esta vez nos pasamos del límite, muchos amigos de la gente que trabaja en el proyecto se inscribió de manera inmediata por ser el primer curso en Perú y esto no dejo lugar para otras personas, pero déjanos tus datos y las fechas que vas a estar por lima y te enviamos la información de los cursos que vamos a programar en tus fechas posibles, eso lo prometo.
Sobre tu pregunta de micro irrigación, tenemos entendido que hay varios que venden sistemas de micro irrigación en el país, es cuestión que los busques en internet ya que nosotros no podemos recomendarte ninguno por ahora
Además de los curso claro que puedes participar del proyecto y acompañarnos como voluntaria y tus conocidos que estén interesados en el tema, tenemos una web www.permaculturaperu.com  y los facebooks : Instituto Peruano de Permacultura y Red Peruana de Permacultura, donde puedes ver varias fotos y enterarte de las actividades, si bien este proyecto nace legalmente este año, nosotros desde hace 4 años atrás tenemos un hermoso programa de clases gratuitas en hogares infantiles, orfanatos, escuelas, comunidades pobres e incluso hoy en día en la cárcel.
Para que la Red pueda funcionar como quisiera, se pide que todos los permacultores, movimientos en permacultura o gente que sepa de algo fuera y dentro del país, manden todos los datos posibles como lo que nos cuentas sobre esos proyectos o lo de la comunidad del paraíso, de los cuales no tenemos conocimiento, si pudieras tu mandarnos toda la información que tengas podremos ponernos en contacto de inmediato con ellos.
Nos interesa además mucho lo de tu blog y felicitamos que en el puedas sumar a la permacultura, nos gustaría mucho conversar contigo, así que cuando tengas un tiempo y te provoque nos podemos reunir en las oficinas que tenemos en Miraflores, en el Centro Cultural de Artes Holísticas.
Antonio Cilloniz Benavides
Director del Instituto Peruano de Permacultura


Intro to Permaculture Design by Mark Krawczyk: http://vimeo.com/9028446 

Cool innovative process based on ancient fog capture process for water in dry mountainous regions with lots of fog: http://www.fogquest.org/mediacenter/videos.html  Contact for the Chilean supplier that sells the fog capturing mesh net shown in these videos is: Jorge Kleiman, Export Director, Cia. de Mallas y Plasticos, Industrial y Comercial, Marienberg, Ltds.  jkg@marienberg.cl (56-2) 689-8031 The product is 35% shade efficient Raschedl weave mesh and is a double layer mesh with fiber width of 1mm.

http://www.keyline.com.au/ Yeomans keyline design – water for everyfarm shows larger scale keyline’s that can be used to capture, store and gravity irrigate large areas of land – I think that combining keyline design with fog capture systems would be an incredible way to restore deforested arid mountain regions that no longer have the vegetation that once was able to capture water through cloud forests and have thus turned to deserts. 

Here are some additional resources on water saving devices and micro-irrigation.   

Brad Landcastor’s Rainwater Harvesting for Deserts and Beyond guide book available here:


and videos here


 fantastic low input micro-irrigation systems that are fed by hand using buckets, developed in India


 I think these types of fog collection systems could be revolutionary for Lima, I haven’t seen any in use here, but the fog comes just about every night, and all through the winter.  Huge amounts of water could be collected in this way, to provide free water for micro-irrigating, or gravity irrigation.






 If innovative energy production/livelihoods is a component of your permaculture design, there are also some great ideas here:



Let me know if any of these are useful.  I love hearing from people who read my blog and use the resources in their own projects.