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Guardians of Sacred Waters

By Tim Hazell

The conquest of water, a resource which led to the development of irrigation and the advent of mankind in history, is an example of our proactive abilities to harness and manipulate natural phenomena for the purposes of survival itself. The legacy of water control development and irrigation is one that reveals moments of great human ingenuity, as well as our collective zeal for power.

Circulation systems comprising the storage and transfer of water in nature and society are referred to as the hydrological cycle. Human interference of the natural hydrological cycle is made possible through available technologies, one of which is irrigation. Through deliberate manipulation and modification we can alter the balance of natural storage and transfer, our objective being to successfully improve agriculture and food production. Distribution of water is referred to as spacial and temporal. Spacial relates to the geographical layout of the land used for cultivation; temporal refers to the favorable or unfavorable timing of watering in annual agrarian cycles.

Threats to water quality today include pollution from two sources: heat and toxic substances. Global warming and emissions from manufacturing plants pumped back into a lake or river can cause fluctuations in water temperature. The effects may include the death of cold water organisms such as fish, because adults are unable to survive or eggs fail to hatch when they spawn. Aquatic species can also become extinct because polluted water lacks oxygen. Warm water holds considerably less of this element than the natural cold water of lakes and streams, which is rich in dissolved oxygen. Toxic substances settle naturally if airborne or carried by rain. Waterways thousands of miles from core pollution sites become contaminated in this way.

At present, greater concerns for the allocation and distribution of water through modern irrigation technologies represent positive aspects of the shift to an increased empathy with our planet, its land and water relationships, climatic zones, and ecosystems.

Water-based cooking is noteworthy for its delicacy, purity, and health benefits. Poaching is one of the easiest ways to prepare salmon. Poached salmon is elegant and flavorful, and its high level of beneficial oils makes it an ideal choice. Here is a simple recipe by Martha Stewart with subtle, yet expressive touches.


Poached Salmon Fillets


2 carrots cut into 1-inch pieces

1 celery stalk, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 small onion, peeled and halved

1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

Coarse salt

4 skinless salmon fillets (6 ounces each and about 1 inch thick)



In a large, deep skillet, or heavy pot, combine carrots, celery, onion, lemon, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 8 minutes.

Season salmon with salt and gently lower into simmering liquid (liquid should just cover fish). Reduce to a very gentle simmer. Cover and cook until salmon is opaque throughout, about 5 minutes (longer for thicker fillets). Using a wide slotted spatula, remove salmon from liquid.



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