WATER CONSERVATION WORKSHOPS
LAUREN ELDER AND CHRISTINA BERTEA
LA PREPARATORIA MORELOS
LA PAZ, BCS, MEXICO
The two artists/"water workers" were co-sponsored by NIPARAJÁ Conservation (La Paz) and "La Prepa", a progressive secondary school, to provide hands-on workshops in various water conservation techniques.
The campus greening initiative was the project of Gabriela Ortiz, a green architect,who was eager to
receive more technical input. Srta. Ortiz and her students had already hand-dug small swales to capture rainwater when it moved across the landscape during the infrequent downpours.
During our week-long visit, there were 4 areas of concentration:
• a branch drain system to redirect graywater from the school cafe toward citrus trees.
• the re-construction of a gravel basin (wetland) to collect and filter water from a utility sink
• the re-use of water from their reverse osmosis system for garden irrigation
• the creation of a worm bin program to recycle food waste from the cafe
• instruction in the creation of a rain catchment system. They invented gutters to custom fit the flat roof!
By 2017 excellent educational signage had been installed describing these systems. The first planted area had become quite lush as the swales had been improved. The rain barrel was also functioning but, unfortunately, all other systems had been abandoned after Ortiz returned to full time professional life. Hopefully her replacement will reactivate them.
As a coda: Niparaja representatives took us on a field trip to the top of the La Paz watershed where Sergio Aguilar and his partner (UABCS faculty) are conducting a much larger scale experiment in water conservation. They are also using terraced swales, check dams, and shallow basins to restore ranch land overgrazed by free roaming cattle.The results were quite impressive.