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:
- For slope stabilization and erosion control
- To stabilize roadside embankments, on fill and cut material
- 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
- To reduce the total cost and size of infrastructural investments, through a combined “hard and soft” approach
- 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
- To mitigate flooding in valleys below by slowing down overall rainfall runoff rates, changing watershed hydrology
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.