Turn water scarcity into water abundance! Visit HarvestingRainwater.com for information about how to conceptualize, design, and implement sustainable water-, sun-, wind-, and shade-harvesting systems for your home, landscape, and community.
Harvest your on-site resources (rainwater, greywater, topsoil, sun, plants, and more) with an array of strategies to maximize their potential. Use guiding principles to create an integrated, multi-functional resource-harvesting and -enhancing landscape plan specific to your site.
Also see information about Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volumes 1 and 2 to get more detailed information to help you bring your site to life, reduce your cost of living, endow yourself and your community with skills of self-reliance and cooperation, generate renewable on-site power, and create living air conditioners of vegetation that grow beauty, food, flood-control, and wildlife habitat.
In 1994, my brother and I escaped the world of paying rent when we purchased an about-to-be-condemned 1919 adobe bungalow on an eighth of an acre just north of downtown Tucson, Arizona, for $33,000. We slowly renovated the home and yard into a sustainable showcase.
At home my brother, his family, and I harvest about 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year on a 1/8-acre urban lot and adjoining right-of-way. This harvested water is turned into living air conditioners of food-bearing shade trees, abundant gardens, and a thriving landscape incorporating wildlife habitat, beauty, edible and medicinal plants, and more. Such sheltering landscapes can cool buildings by
For more information about rainwater harvesting, go to https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/rainwater-harvesting-inforesources/
For more information about the evolution on my house and yard, go to https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/living-big-by-living-small/
Photo: Public right of way pre-rainwater harvesting and planting.
We worked with neighbors and others at community plantings and workshops to transform sterile public rights-of-way along our neighborhood streets into beautiful botanical gardens of primarily native food-, medicine-, craft material-, and wildlife habitat-producing vegetation—all of it irrigated solely by passively harvested rainwater
Photo: Public right of way after rainwater harvesting and planting.
Photo: Chi Lancaster nibbles on native mesquite pods harvested from the tree behind her.
Rain- and greywater-harvesting garden on periphery of small yard in Tucson, AZ. Roof runoff is directed to basins via a downspout, then pipe (beneath the path—see dotted blue flow arrow). Kitchen-sink dark-greywater is directed to basins via a branched-drain pipe system (purple dotted pipe). Washing-machine greywater is directed to basins via a multi-drain system (purple dotted pipe). With each load of laundry the washing machine’s drain hose is rotated from one greywater drain to the other (each discharging greywater to a different section of a mulched basin and its plantings). Greywater is discharged to multiple points, rather than one, to ensure soil stays aerobic and odor-free. All systems use gravity to distribute the water for free. Thus all pipes maintain a minimum 2% slope (1/4-inch drop per horizontal foot, or 2-cm drop per horizontal meter).
For more information, go to https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/greywater-harvesting/