Natel’s vision, called Restoration Hydro, moves away from conventional large dams to a more distributed approach based on biomimicry. Before human intervention and the creation of aqueducts and canals, most North American rivers were clogged with woody debris and beaver dams. Cascades that mimic beaver structures cause water to slow down, creating small ponds and wetlands; this gives sufficient time for water to seep into the ground, which in turn raises the water table. A higher water table means more groundwater storage, which helps watersheds ride out long stretches of drought.

These linked distributed systems are specifically designed to restore river connectivity for fish and other wildlife, enhance water-supply sanitation and agricultural productivity, and support the livelihoods and socio-economic development of local communities, making Natel’s system

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