Rice is the life-blood of Bali. It permeates every aspect of Balinese culture, and has for at least two thousand years. The current system of Subak Irrigation has been in use for at least 1000 years. This system is much more than a simple agriculture tradition, it is a tradition that is simultaneously spiritual and communal; deeply ingrained with Balinese culture. The very social structure within Bali is infused by this ancient tradition. You could even say that rice is Bali.
As water scarcity becomes a global concern, sustainable irrigation is a topic not just for farmers, experts, and pedants; it’s a topic for the mainstream. In the United States, major aquifers are being drained at alarming rates, and there hasn’t been enough snow and rainfall to replenish used supply. Solutions to our current water crisis may be found in a Balinese practice going back to the 9th-century. Subak, a crossroads of culture, religion, and irrigation.