"Soil erosion is one of the largest environmental issues facing the earth today; and the river banks region of India, with heavy rainfall, is particularly affected. Erosion devastates infrastructural activities- landslides, erosion by river and flood water take heavy toll of developed infrastructure. From an engineer’s perspective sustainable asset management has posed as a gargantuan task because of soil erosion. Traditional hard engineering is now found to be inconsistent with the three pillars of sustainability - economy, social and environmental. Hard engineering interventions to prevent erosion have been attempted over decades in the region, incurring large financial and environmental costs, and with limited success. This in combination with limited State budgets makes finding an alternative, low cost, environmentally sustainable solution imperative. One such method that shows considerable promise is Vetiver grass."
30 years ago (a generation ago) John Greenfield and I, when working for the World Bank in India, re-introduced the Vetiver Grass Technology (VGT) as an alternative to the engineering approach - the latter did not work very well - too expensive, heavily subsidized, badly maintained, and mostly ineffective. We were not very popular for promoting vetiver grass hedgerows as components of World Bank funded projects (Indian Watershed Projects in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh States) as an alternative and better technological and economic solution; questions were tabled in the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, some people even wanted to ban the technology!
Well, as you can see from the above quote, we have come a long way from those days, thanks to a new generation of professionals and the pressure created by climate change and social needs that demand alternative, effective and lower cost solutions.