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Water Retention Landscapes Course

Water Retention Landscapes

Suryalila, 16th – 23rd November 2022

One enlightening week of theory and hands-on experience
with water retention experts Silvano Rizzi and Marcus Dittrich
Assisted by Andrew Zionts Abrams and Aude Péronne

Simply put, without water we wouldn’t be here!

Water is key in a landscape’s capacity to harbour life. 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 contribute 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’re 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.

How is the course structured?

In this one week learning journey you’ll gain insight into the design and creation of scalable
Water Retention Landscapes. We’ll identify underlying principles which inform the design
process, as well as implement some water retention techniques on site at Danyadara
Permaculture Farm.
The Work That Reconnects (Joanna Macy) will help us feel and understand our
interdependence with water, land and fellow species.
We will learn how to locate ourselves within the context of the big, small and
broken water cycle and in the topography of watersheds. The role of vegetation, soil and
its effects on micro and macro climate is another important area we will explore.
The Scale of Permanence (P. A. Yeomans) will serve as the design framework and help us
come to better informed decisions starting with observation which informs design and
finally leads to implementation.

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”

The importance of this knowledge

By reducing surface water run-off and enhancing infiltration we’ll see how water retention

can be a viable strategy to mitigate global issues like flooding, major fires, desertification, a
declining groundwater table and exploitive water policies.

This course shall serve to empower you as a steward on our beautiful home planet.

You will also have the opportunity to attend three afternoon Yoga Classes per week, mostly relaxing classes.
The course is held within the grounds of Suryalila, our big sister project, a world-class Retreat Centre. You will have your own beautiful classroom, hang-out area and dining room. Three organic vegetarian meals will be provided to you every day. You will have access to a saltwater swimming pool, a sauna, and wifi.

About the team

Silvano Rizzi, teacher. (German, Engl., It., Spanish)
studied nonprofit-management and worked in disaster relief, while searching for effective
and regenerative solutions. 9 years ago he discovered Tamera in Southern Portugal,
permaculture and the concept of Water Retention Landscapes. He’s since been dedicated
to these topics and to building regenerative models that enable land stewards to live self-
sufficiently and regeneratively with water and land. He works in Tamera’s forest team and
as a teacher and consultant.

Marcus Dittrich, teacher, (German, Engl.)
has a deep appreciation and a sense of care for the Earth’s beauty and her ecosystems.
As a young adult he came in touch with the concept of large scale landscape restoration
and landscape healing. Studying with Sepp Holzer and other teachers and practitioners in
various places, Marcus began working in regenerative design. He’s a group facilitator,
designer and consultant in Tamera’s ecology team in Southern Portugal.

Aude Péronne, Assistant, (French, Spanish, English)
has been involved in Permaculture, community building, Yoga philosophy and practice,
herbalism and natural medicine over the last 15 years.
For the last 5 years, she has collaborated with Andrew Zionts Abrams in the Catalina project in
Southern Spain, supporting community development, leading reforestation
strategies, sharing in the management of the project with Andrew and assisting the water retention
landscape design and implementation with Marcus and Silvano.
She is dedicated to reconnect people through land care and earth wisdom, nourishing her
work from Deep Ecology, meditation and The Work That Reconnects as tools to remember
the inherent worth and interconnectedness of all living beings on earth.

Andrew Zionts Abrams, Assistant, (Engl., Spanish, Turkish)
is a Permaculturist, designer, entrepreneur, teacher, facilitator, eco-philanthropist and most
importantly, an earth steward. Since 2014, with the support of Silvano and Marcus, he and
a small community have been stewarding Catalina, where they live on deforested steep
slopes near Vejer de la Frontera, in the province of Cádiz, in Andalusia, Spain, restoring
the functionality of the ecosystem. This is a community-based permaculture sanctuary
where they have implemented a zero-runoff water.


Wednesday 16th
Arrival Day
5.30pm Restorative Yoga (optional)
7pm dinner,
8pm Introduction Meeting

Thursday 17th

8.00am Breakfast
9am-1.30pm Course
1.30pm Lunch and rest
3.30-6.30pm Course
7pm Dinner

Friday 18th
8.00am Breakfast
9am-1.30pm Course
1.30pm Lunch and rest
3.30-5pm Course
5.30-7pm Restorative Yoga (optional)
7pm Dinner

Saturday 19th
8.00am Breakfast
9am-1.30pm Course
1.30pm Lunch and rest
3.30-6.30pm Course
7pm Dinner

Sunday 20th
8.00am Breakfast
9am-1.30pm Course
1.30pm Lunch and rest
3.30-6.30pm Course
7pm Dinner

Monday 21st
8.00am Breakfast
9am-1.30pm Course
1.30pm Lunch and rest
3.30-5pm Course
5.30-7pm Restorative Yoga (optional)
7pm Dinner

Tuesday 22nd
8.00am Breakfast
9am-1.30pm Course
1.30pm Lunch and rest


We are offering different accommodation types at Suryalila and Danyadara grounds:

  • Stay in one of our comfortable glamping tents with furniture and electricity: €630 (shared) – €750 (single)
  • Stay in a large spacious mixed dormitory: €630
  • Bring your own van: €570
  • Bring your own tent: €540

The course includes:

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Gourmet organic vegetarian meals, tea, coffee and fruit
  • Yoga classes
  • Tuition fees and teaching materials
  • Use of all facilities including the salt water pool, sauna (on assigned days) and wi-fi.

To register yourself and book a place or request more information, please send us an email: [email protected]