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Waterponding

Aerial shot of waterponding resultsWaterponding is a land management technique to restore scalded land. It involves grading a series of horseshoe shaped banks to catch and hold rainfall.

The water cannot penetrate the sealed clay surface, but causes it to swell and crack on drying. Over a series of rainfalls, infiltration is improved and seed is able to establish in the roughened surface.

Increases in infiltration also mean that salt concentrated on the soil surface is spread back through the soil profile and will not limit seed establishment.

Site monitoring shows that within a year groundcover can be increased from virtually nothing to up to 70%. Native grass and forb diversity can be increased from four/five species to 16 within a few years. This means lower erosion, improved local water quality, improved soil health, increased biodiversity and improved farm productivity.

Over the years many techniques to reclaim scalded land have been used by landholders. However since 1984 the scald reclamation aided by the development of new technology involving laser survey, construction techniques and reseeding methods, has resulted in waterponding transforming scalds into highly productive rangelands, giving a win / win to the environment and economic returns to the landholder.