030 - Healthy Water And Permaculture With Dr. Ross Mars

Stewarding Water Through Waste Water Re-use And Permaculture Principals 


In this episode we have a doctor of environmental science known to some as Dr. Greywater. Ross Mars is an author, a teacher and has 20 years experience in the field of greywater and wastewater. He’s the Managing Director of Water Installations, a company based here in Perth, W.A. 

He is also an accredited permaculture design teacher and teaches people how to teach permaculture.


Listen in as Ross shares a bit of his journey and we discuss: the development of permaculture, greywater systems, Australian native herbs and medicinal plants, and how we can use water more effectively in our environment.


This episode is a bit of an insight into how we use water here in Western Australia, but I think the principals can be utilised in any climate.



Check out Ross’ work at:













Show Notes


Formative Experiences & Background

- grew up with orchards & home-grown veggies

- learned a lot while weeding the garden

- first got into permaculture by tagging along with his wife to a course

- studied biology and teaching

- specialised in waste water for graduate research project

- worked on introducing accredited permaculture training to Western Australia

- discussion of permaculture courses

- Ross is “Dr Greywater”

- did lots of experiments & thesis on greywater

- discussion of greywater ecosystems



The Future of Permaculture

- Ross enjoys teaching others, especially those who go on to also teach people themselves

- seeing a huge move of people learning to live more sustainably

- vegetable seedlings are the most popular selling plant

- understanding that you do have options

- seeing change among mainstream farmers



Backing It Up With Science

- Ross is very keen to make sure what is being taught about permaculture is firmly based on science

- when wanting to use herbs medicinally, find out what you can about the herb being tested so as to use it safely

- much of current herb lore is anecdotal

- working to get studies undertaken to test these claims

- discussion of current testings



Water Filtration & Soil

- discussion about turning greywater into drinking water

- passing water through some kind of filter, for ex. soil

- if we get the soil right, we get the plants and the people healthy

- when we build soil, we can create biological filters for our water

- need to build water literacy among local populations



In 50 Years, Ross Would Like to See…

- desalination plants are not the way of the future

- stormwater harvesting is beginning to be practised in Western Australia

- government enforced grey water home systems

- needs to be more moves to reuse all water on gardens



What’s Happening Now?

- discussion of water filtration in Kalamunda (area in Western Australia)

- discussion of climate change in Australia, specifically the South West

- “transition movement”: arose out of permaculture course in England, also spreading in Australia now, utilising urban areas to grow food and live more sustainably

- turning chlorine pools into natural pools

- discussion of setting up proper safety measures so water is completely safe



Living a Probiotic Life

- planting a seed or cutting and watching it sprout

- safeguarding family, teaching kids to grow food

- great to see this happening in schools now

- become involved in teaching others what you know!

- books: Getting Started in Permaculture, The Basics of Permaculture Design, How To Permaculture Your Life

- 2 dvds: RAPS - Remote Area Power Supplies