In our previous articles on gardens, we stressed the importance of ample sunlight, good soil and fertile seeds. However, none of these ingredients can serve plants and thereby raise food without the life essential element of water. Water is the essence of life as knowledge is the essence of our human development. Therefore, you must plant your garden near enough to a source of water in case of a lack of rain water. For normal growth, a garden needs about an inch of water per square foot per week. However, all water is not the same.

Water (H2O, HOH) is the most abundant molecule on Earth’s surface, composing 70-75 percent of the Earth’s surface as liquid and solid state in addition to being found in the atmosphere as a vapor. Many substances dissolve in water and it is commonly referred to as the universal. Because of this, water in nature and in use is rarely clean, and may have some properties different than those in the laboratory.

Only 2.5 percent of the Earth’s water supply is considered fresh water. The rest is found in the form of salt water in the oceans. Of the fresh water that exists, most is locked up in glaciers and ice caps. Water can also be found in the form of clouds and humidity in the soil. That leaves us 3/10 of 1 percent found in the form of lakes, rivers and streams.


There is a major difference between rain water and municipally treated water. Rainwater is naturally “soft” (unlike well water), neutral in pH, contains almost no dissolved minerals or salts, is free of chemical treatment such as chlorine, free from disinfectant by-products, free from other chemicals found in city water as well as natural and man-made contaminants that cause staining, pipe corrosion or smell.

Rainwater produced in a lightning storm has an added benefit. Lightning storms are one of nature’s ways of fertilizing the earth. Lightning forces nitrogen and oxygen to combine with the water of the rain and carries the nitrogen down into the soil. This causes natural nitrogen fertilizer which is used by plants. That is why after a good lightning storm the grass in your lawn seems to have grown overnight.

Therefore, other than fresh rainwater, water collected during a rain and stored for later use would be the best source of irrigation water. The next best source would be from a stream, river or lake that has not been contaminated by chemical runoffs. Well water is good, but could contain dissolved salts or other minerals. A water softener added to hard well water would be advised, if you know that the water is hard.

However, in many cases city dwellers may have to rely on tap water that has been treated by chlorine. High levels of chlorine in the water can stunt plant growth. The easiest way to take the chlorine out of your water is to set it out in an open vessel for a day or two before applying it to your plants.

Many of us take the availability of fresh water as a given, however water may be as valuable as gold as population growth and increased industrialization consumes more of the available water supply. Add to increased demand the effects of climate change including decreasing snow packs and rainfall.

Even now your water is becoming more of a commodity to be traded. The Bush administration is helping multinationals buy U.S. municipal water systems, putting our most important resource in the hands of corporations with no public accountability.

The road to privatization is being paved by the government. The Bush administration is actively working to loosen the hold that cities and towns have over public water, enabling corporations to own the very thing we depend on for survival.

Currently, water systems are controlled publicly in 90 percent of communities across the world and 85 percent in the United States, but that number is changing rapidly. It is estimated that in 1990, 50 million people worldwide got their water services from private companies, but by 2002, it was 300 million and growing.

For those considering buying land in the countryside, you must consider the availability of water. In particular, you should check as to whether there is an active well on the property and if not, can you put in a well and how much it will cost. Land in areas where you can drill a well may be a good investment for the future. Well drilling along with other essential services are businesses that Black people are overlooking or losing ground in. In Southwest Georgia, all of the well diggers are White, while more and more homes are being built in the countryside, each requiring a well for water.

It is fascinating to discover that there are almost no Black well diggers, while in Africa in ancient times there were whole tribes that were the well drillers for civilizations. You may be shocked to know that the pyramids of Egypt were not built to be tombs, but were the excretion of wells dug 200 feet beneath the rock plateaus bordering the Nile River. You can learn more about Ancient Egyptian agriculture and the irrigation uses of the pyramids by reading two of my books, “Amen: The Secret Waters of the Great Pyramid” and “I Will not Apologize: The Resurrection of the Master Architect.”

The significance of irrigation water in terms of geopolitics is exposed in how the U.S. government views the danger of Libyan President Colonel Muammar Gadhafi’s “Great Man-Made River Project.” Libya has rediscovered and tapped into the same underground aquifer more than 200 feet beneath the Sahara Desert that the Ancient Egyptians used to turn a desert into a garden or “paradise.” However, the U.S. government–through articles placed in newspapers–is trying to spin this humanitarian and economic “wonder of the world” into some type of covert military scheme where the 13-foot-wide underground pipes may be used as “… a conduit for troops.” However, from America’s point of view, what Pres. Gadhafi is doing has “military” significance, if we understand the importance of water in blocking the West’s scheme in depopulating Africa.

If the West is trying to starve Africa to steal her mineral resources, then any scheme that may help feed Africans becomes of military significance and subject to a military strike. Of course city people in America may never understand the importance of water until the tap runs dry or the water bill runs sky high. In the meantime, for those of you who plant your gardens, every time you water your plants think of Libya and its “Great Man-Made River Project.”

(Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu’min Muhammad is the Nation of Islam’s Minister of Agriculture, who serves as the farm manager of a 1,600-acre farm in southwest Georgia owned by the Nation of Islam. Visit or email [email protected].)