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Revolving Community Loans for “Water From Allah”

by Brad Lancaster,, © 2010

Number 4 in a series of Drops in a Bucket blog posts on Brad Lancaster’s and David Eisenberg’s U.S. State Department-sponsored adventures and gleanings in the Middle East

Northern Jordan, April 2009

Throughout northern Jordan we visited dynamic villages that were enhancing their quality of life by recycling water and money as close to their sources as possible.

The money is recycled primarily via revolving community-loan funds. Here is how it works: a village collectively gathers a pot of money, a portion of which is lent out to its villagers to fund projects the village has deemed worthy. The most popular projects are those that recycle water with rainwater-harvesting cisterns and greywater-harvesting systems, while others used their loans to finance composting projects, organic gardens and orchards, and small livestock – all investments that increase local productivity along with the resiliency and sustainability of the village and its natural resources. A villager who receives a loan has two and a half years to pay it back, interest free. The money can then be lent out to yet another villager. The village’s productivity keeps improving with the investments, enabling the village to give itself more loans, continuing the upward spiral of recycled investments that stay in the community. Neither non-locally owned banks nor interest drain off the profits.

… Ali Flahmohammad Khtatabh, the Imam of Whadneh, proudly showed me the 2,500 Jordanian dinars’ worth (currently equivalent to over US $3,500) of cisterns the village loan fund had financed at his home and the homes of his children. He was the first in his village to install cisterns, and as its spiritual leader, he made it clear that the harvest of rainwater was in alignment with both the teachings of the Koran and good sense. He was so happy with the cisterns that he kept building more.

To continue reading about Brad’s observations on water-tank culture and current and potential greywater-harvesting strategies in the Middle East, along with an ahead-of-the-curve piece of pro-greywater legislation in Israel, and more, follow this link to Brad’s Drops in a Bucket blog on his website.

Brad Lancaster is a dynamic teacher, consultant, and designer of regenerative systems. He is the author of the award-winning, best-selling books Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, the information-packed website, and the Drops in a Bucket Blog. He lives his talk on an oasis-like eighth of an acre in downtown Tucson, Arizona, by harvesting over 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year where just 12 inches per year falls from the sky.

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