Water Retention Landscapes

Accepting our Responsibility as Land Stewards

Water is key in a landscape’s capacity to harbor life. Without water we wouldn’t be here. The impact of human activity has changed landscapes around the world on a large scale. These degraded landscapes and ecosystems lead to a broken water cycle and to anthropogenic climate change. Creating decentralized Water Retention Landscapes (WRL) is a regenerative practice that engages us with the ecosystems that sustain us and our wider community. It’s a wholesome way to be in relationship with water, land and everything that follows. Think globally, act locally.

Unsustainable water management is practiced in agriculture, urban planning, forestry, fishing, water treatment and other industrial processes which fuel global modern society. Knowing this, we are also aware that the landscapes we inhabit and co-create are a direct reflection of our “inner landscapes.” Extreme weather patterns and degraded ecosystems are mirroring the imbalance of our social and economic systems.

“Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants”


Program Details

This course is for everyone who wants to learn about regenerative practices concerning land, water and people, and our relationship with the Earth. It offers a comprehensive view into the underlying principles, a design approach, tools and practical examples for the creation of scalable Water Retention Landscapes. Tamera’s land and surroundings will serve as a model to show different techniques to retain water, accumulate nutrients, build soil and increase biomass and biodiversity.

Our community context and the role of people in system change is another important part of the curriculum. We’ll explore how trust building among people is crucial in developing the capacity for land stewardship.

Excursions into our surroundings will help us understand the local and regional context of the water situation. We’ll address global issues like flooding, major fires, desertification, a declining groundwater table and exploitive water policies.

We’ll utilize design frameworks such as the “Scale of Permanence” by P.A. Yeomans to help us sort information about specific areas of land and come to better informed decisions from observation to planning and designing to implementation. Toward the end of the course we’ll offer remote consultations for 2 properties, serving as real life examples which will be presented by the course participants. If you are interested in sharing your project as an example please write to ecology (at) tamera.org and we’ll talk about further details.

You’ll explore:

  • basic principles of the Water Retention Landscape
  • decentralized WRL as a scalable model
  • the impact of centralized water systems with examples from our region
  • how to reverse desertification
  • large and small water cycles
  • broken water cycle
  • outer & inner landscapes
  • water as a living being
  • vegetation management in WRL.

Our program will include:

  • a preparation package prior to course beginning (with links, questions related to content and information about Tamera)
  • planning and design exercises (i.e. Scale of Permanence, zoning, landscape units)
  • utilizing maps, aerial imagery, watershedreading the landscape (outdoor exercises)
  • measuring and marking contour lines (outdoor exercises)
  • different techniques of water retention (swales, terraces, dams, ditches, check-dams, rip-lines)
  • excursions
  • sustainable water management (rainwater, drinking water, wastewater)
  • implementing a small water retention structure
  • a digital folder with course content.


To work through the preparation package you’ll receive prior to the course.

Corona Guidelines

If you have questions or concerns about our guidelines relating to Corona you can sign up for one of our Zoom calls in the registration.

Number of participants

30 maximum (12 minimum)


Sliding Scale from
€750 to €1310
(including seminar fee, board & accommodation)

Why are we using a sliding scale?

Please consider applying for or donating to our solidarity fund if you can’t pay the lower end of the sliding scale or want to support others.

Our invitation to Portuguese nationals.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel your participation to a course 2 weeks or less before the start of the program, we ask for a cancellation fee of €100.


Dormitories or own tent.
A room in the Guest House can be booked at an additional cost.


Vegan full board



Arrival and Departure

Please arrive the day before the course begins and depart the day after the course finishes.


Please note that it’s not possible to bring children to this course.


Please note that it’s not possible to bring pets to this course.

The Team

Marcus Dittrich, Silvano Rizzi and a team from Tamera’s ecology department.