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Rainwater Harvesting

In permaculture we strive to design landscapes that absorb rainwater. That approach is not only a good idea for dry climates, but is also very important in places with plentiful moisture. Rainwater is best maximized when allowed to infiltrate into the soil. There it is available to plants, is naturally cleansed and filtered by soil biology, and enters the groundwater to enrich the hydrological cycle.

Rainwater harvesting is an alternative to designing our outdoor environments to shed runoff, where it rushes down hillsides, streets, and roadways, causing erosion and carrying pollution directly into waterways. Rainwater harvesting can be practiced by channeling runoff through earthworks into the soil, or capturing runoff from roofs or other hard surfaces to be stored in cisterns. The former is simpler and less costly; the latter allows you to have access to running water during dry spells.

Below are links to the past issues of the Permacuture Drylands Magazine – Sustainable Living in Drylands on the subject of water harvesting.  For information on broadscale watershed restoration and erosion prevention, please go here. Please keep in mind that all articles reflect the values of the authors and illustrators, as well as the time periods in which they were written.

Water Harvesting Traditions in the Desert Southwest by Joel Glanzberg

Build Sand Tanks for Dry Land Water Storage by David Bainbridge

Collect Rainwater from Roofs by Guy Baldwin

Construct a Dirt Catchment for Harvesting Surface Runoff by Daniel Howell

Constructing Quick and Inexpensive Water Cisterns for Zone

One Use by Dan Dorsey Deep Pipe Irrigation by David Bainbridge

Designing with Nature Natural Systems for Wastewater Treatments by Michael Ogden

Dynamic Water Storage by Tim Murphy

Harvest Water With Microcatchments by Dan Howell

Harvesting Rain Runoff on Your Property by Kirk R. Vincent and Laurie Wirt

Harvesting Water by Derk Loeks

Land Restoration A Watershed Perspective by Randall Gray

Some Thought On Water excerpt by Ben Haggard

Sponge Ladders A Water Harvesting Method for Establishing Perimeter Shelterbelts on Sloped Sites by Chris Meuli

The Man Who Farms Water by Brad Lancaster

The Runoff Homestead by Daniel Howell

The Wildfell Ferrocement Tank by Patrick McGinn

Tucson Stormwater Management Use It Or Lose It by Tim Murphy

Use it or Lose it by Tim Murphy

Use Roof Runoff for a Domestic Water Supply by Daniel Howell

Water Harvesting for Desert Urbanites by John Patterson