Sustainable soil- and water management

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Establishing sustainable soil- and water-management in Bourzakan
During 8 weeks and during the pandemic of Covid-19 a group of students from the University of Wageningen have been working on a advisory report for the Khorshid project. Within this report the group of students focussed on establishing sustainable soil- and watermanagement in the Bourzakan region of Iran.

Determine strategies for alternative sources
The aim of the project was to determine multiple feasible strategies for sustainable soil- and water-management. The students proposed an advice which suggest several alternative sources of water that can be implemented in Bourzakan.
The most important suggestions are harvesting rainwater, establishing micro-attachments in the hill slopes and the construction of a sand-dam. They also provided several detailed manuals on measures, that stayed unclear during this project, that together with further onsite investigations can ensure proper implementation of the proposals.
Their outcome is to be believed that it can take up a significant part of the domestic water demand but most likely it will not suffer in gaining full independence of the groundwater sources and therefor they also want to introduce home gardens.

Home gardens and general improving agricultural practices
Home gardens improve food security and offer significant livelihood opportunities. Due to wastewater and new additional domestic water sources no additional water is needed for irrigation.
Next to home gardens, there are general ways to improve agricultural practices. Increasing water availability, water use efficiency and soil structure and fertility can be done by measures such as reduced or zero tillage, irrigation improvement, mulching and possibly the application of hydrogels.
As a last proposal they gave an advice on implementing agroforestry in Bourzakan, initially tried out in an experimental plot. Agroforestry is a complex system and needs knowledge and experience. But once set up, agroforestry can significantly increase biodiversity, food production, soil quality and enhance a micro-climate.

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