The Vetiver System (VS)

The Vetiver System (VS) refers to the best practice methods for the design and implementation of vetiver grass as a bio-engineering tool, to solve many land and water-related challenges.

The correct design and implementation of the Vetiver System (VS) for greatest results involves:

  • Assessment of existing site/slope conditions; and recommendation of optimal slope gradient and earthworks regrading, if needed
  • Vetiver plants preparation and installation
  • Surface water management
  • Maintenance during establishment
  • Combined solutions with other traditional measures – such as gabion baskets, geotextiles, swales, silt fences, coconut matting, other plant species, etc.
  • Soil testing where possible, and application of fertilizers and soil amendments
  • Irrigation systems during dry season establishment; or appropriate planning for for wet season establishment areas where irrigation is not possible
  • Design and testing applications for the treatment of contaminated waters/effluents and land environments

A humble and simple grass, with a wide range of uses

Vetiver grass and the Vetiver System (VS) have the following range of uses:

  1. For slope stabilization and erosion control
  1. To stabilize roadside embankments, on fill and cut material
  1. To reinforce and protect new and existing infrastructure from slippage, and erosion/washout of soil around the edges, such as around drains, culverts, bridge abutments
  1. To reduce the total cost and size of infrastructural investments, through a combined “hard and soft” approach
  1. For soil and water conservation in agriculture and to rehabilitate degraded watersheds; by slowing down runoff and promoting groundwater recharge, capturing topsoil and sediments to form natural terraces and build back soil fertility; and capturing native seeds which sprout behind hedgerows
  1. To mitigate flooding in valleys below by slowing down overall rainfall runoff rates, changing watershed hydrology
  1. To stabilize and protect river and stream embankments from erosion, and to increase overall freeboard; providing greater river capacities to withstand overflows during extreme rainfall events
  1. For phytoremediation to treat various forms of wastewater, such as industrial effluent, landfill leachate, and as tertiary (final) treatment for sewage treatment plants or septic systems
  1. For use in the production of essential oils (from fragrant vetiver roots); as well as a wide range of handicrafts made with vetiver leaves and roots, including baskets, mats, chairs, soaps, ornaments and decorations.
  1. As a biomass source with the leaves; for topsoil generation, the fabrication of fuel briquettes as an alternative to charcoal, or other forms of energy generation.

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