PANYA PROJECT ::: IV. Energy, Water, Waste

by kaiconfusion

Table of contentsIMG_3641

    • rainwater harvesting
    • greywater
    • hot water
    • reduced water usage
    • toilets/ sewage
    • recycling

This 4th post about Panya and alternative live styles will shine more light on important aspect of sustainable living following the first three posts intro, buildings and gardening.
In many countries the idea of a low consumptive, off the grid lifestyle will not be well received by the authorities and for many countries, laws and regulations making it nearly impossible or very complicated. Why? What’s the harm?
To subversive is the idea of true independence and self-reliance. It is the knife in the back of capitalism!
The idea of people being able to help themselves and not being totally reliant on all the system’s shackles, is fearsome for the establishment.
Permaculture is an ecological design system that if applied frees us from these shackles. In permaculture design one tries to look at the inputs and outputs of a system. Bringing external resources in and having to bring others out again in the from of waste for instance is fundamentally insufficient. Local closed systems are whether in city or village the way to go and can be realized by looking at what resources are available on site, what local methods have been used in the past and how the local community can work together. Even Towns can be more efficient and sustainable if things like better public transport, rain water harvesting, green spaces dedicated for food production, energy usage reduction, insulated houses, solar energy, local produced foods, bio gas usage etc etc. would be implemented. []

It can be easy to forget how crucial, valuable and precious water is for the survival and well being of all life on the planet.
In a major blackout of a city where would you get your water from? If the water taps stopped working?
Panya has been designed in a water efficient self sufficient way. Swales and a dam have been dug to make the most of rain water. Rainwater harvesting supplies drinking water and a well was dug to pump ground water for general water uses.
The dam will be repaired and functioning by next year(2013) with a water capacity of about 1 million liters, it will be more than enough to serve all water needs throughout the year.

Water collection
Concrete water tanks made from chicken wire and concrete plaster have been built next to roofs of Panya buildings. A few strong rains in the rain season can fill up several of these big barrels. A net prevents insects from entering the tanks which otherwise are open and natural algae cultures keep the water healthy and safe to drink for many months of drought. Several hundred liters can be stored safely.

A pump sends water from the well up to the top of a small hill where the water is filtered and stored temporarily until it gets gravity fed throughout the pipe system.

Greywater    IMG_3650     IMG_3659

[Left]Panya uses biodegradable soaps and washing agents only. All grey water goes back in the ground. Bananas planted in a circle have proven to be a good reuse for grey water as they have a big demand for water. They suck up large amounts of water and clean it as they go and of course in the mean time produce bananas. They are similar systems for other climate zones.

Banana circles can also be muti-functioned as beautiful outdoor showers!



 IMG_2728Hot water                                                       IMG_3361

Hot water also is available.
[Right]There is a solar water heater in place. A make shift wooden box with glass cover and black metal flask connected to the pipes.
[Left/ Bottom] Compost heated shower. A large pile of shredded carbon material with a lot of water produces a lot of energy in the decomposition process. This pile has lasted more than three months! These systems are very easy to implement and provide basically free energy.



Reduced water usage

Panya is using a rinsing system to reduce water and soap usage.
The 1st bowl is to wash off all food residues, the 2nd bowl is to soap up the dishes and the 3rd, 4th and 5th bowl are for rinsing of soap.

For the gardens and nursery drip irrigation systems are in place.
Mulching of garden beds reduces water loss through evaporation.
Rainwater harvesting and generally awareness and mindful consumption of water are practiced at the Panya project.


IMG_3926Panya is using on the grid electricity for light, power tools, kitchen machines, laptops etc.
Panya  surely has a lower average energy use since there aren’t many high demanding electricity machines.
[Left] There is a small solar panel producing solar energy for parts of the Sala lights and to recharge laptops.
Generally speaking energy and electricity is a big problem. There are no full green sustainable ways for electric energy production at least not to my knowledge please correct me if I am wrong!
Solar panels and windmills aren’t either, apart from the energy used for their production, batteries and inverters have to be used so electricity can be used independent of weather changes.
Energy use reduction and high-efficiency and appropriate technology is a first big step.
Mind you that our internet usage has a huge electricity demand as well, almost completely invisible to the consumers eye, an interesting article about that topic
A great project dedicated to sustainable energy and technology is


Toilets/ sewage   IMG_3643

The Panya project has built two Compost toilets with several toilets. If one of these toilets is full,
they get closed for at least half a year to give it a long time of decomposition. After that half-year the content can go back in the food forest where it is used as manure to support plant growth. Consequently no pipes for incoming water or out coming sewage water is needed and no flush water gets wasted.

IMG_3731Recycling systems are generally problematic. As long each of us can control him/ herself to buy non sustainable biodegradable things, the waste of these things will continue to end up in landfills, rivers and oceans, in the air as pollutants from burning and so forth.
At Panya a recycling and down-cycling system is in place but also here only a few answer to the garbage problem has been found yet!
[Left] A handbag made from small soy tetra packs and a piece of old belt.
We aren’t really given much of a choice, though there is hope. I believe and I am sure I don’t stand alone with that thought,
that if we change our consumerist behavior, by firstly understanding the manipulative character of our consumerist world and the brainwashing propaganda of advertisement, to then return to a life more reliant on ourselves and the ones surrounding us by doing things on our own, by stopping the accumulation of all this money and things that we don’t really want and that inflicts suffering on every one of us, through each one of us, it will cause big problems for the capitalist system and the ones defending and benefiting from it.
Happy, self-confident, loving, trusting, self-reliant, active, engaged, courageous people can be our future!

No matter what, we have got to fight for our independence! We are not born to be slaves stuck in this pointless treadmill.

Links/ Resources

Following post number V : Community living.

*** I am happy about comments, links, opinion, criticism

      etc.! Leave a comment!***


2 Comments to “PANYA PROJECT ::: IV. Energy, Water, Waste”

  1. Did they end up having to use cement to seal the dam? They hadn’t decided when I was there in 2010, but had tried several other options that apparently didn’t work.

  2. Hey, can I reprint your blog posts to the Panya blog, as well as to Panya’s Permaculture Global site. I will give a link right away to this original, and link to your blog on our facebook page too.
    thanks for the great writing about Panya!
    (please e-mail me at christian (at)

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