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Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands
Volume 1: Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life and Landscape
by Brad Lancaster

      Water is such a precious resource, and probably the most valuable commodity in the arid west, yet oddly, desert environments have the most signs to warn about possible flooding. When it rains, the water is channeled off houses into storm drains, and off the landscape into gully washers. But you can turn water scarcity into water abundance by capturing and using rainwater at home.

      Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands, Volume 1 is the core of a three-volume guide (under development) on how to conceptualize, design, and implement sustainable water-harvesting systems for your home, landscape, and community. This book enables you to access your on-site resources (rainwater, greywater, topsoil, sun, plants, and more), gives you a diverse array of strategies to maximize their potential, and empowers you with guiding principles to create an integrated, multi-functional, and water-sustainable water-harvesting landscape plan specific to your site and needs. The book is primarily about catching rainwater for use outside your home for watering the garden and landscape.

      Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands includes enough stories, illustrations and simple ideas to inspire and educate readers of all capabilities. With creativity, humor, and common sense, Lancaster shows the reader how to put rainwater to use growing food, shading your home, reducing erosion, and improving wildlife habitat. In addition to conserving money and resources while enriching your surroundings, you can create a landscape that is more beautiful and less work and upkeep than you might imagine.

      Lancaster's rainwater research was inspired by a Mr. Phirri in Africa, a man who was arrested several times for "stealing water" from his neighbors during the dry season. He grew and harvested vegetables even when no one else could, and his well never ran dry. But he wasn't stealing water, which he had to prove to the judge by showing off his innovative use of rainwater. He became known as "The man who farms water."

      Brad Lancaster and his brother learned from Mr. Phirri's work and implemented the techniques in Arizona to see if it worked there. Their experiences helped influence the city of Tucson to adopt new practices to save precious water for its citizens.

      Techniques that work in the extreme environment of Tucson may be applied anywhere. The book includes much more than merely putting out barrels to collect rainwater. You will learn to rethink your entire landscape and grading, creating a microenvironment that will nurture itself. Lancaster's common sense is so extraordinary that you may find yourself wondering why you didn't think of it yourself!

      Lancaster has a friendly, conversational writing style that makes the book a pleasure to read. The design principles are inspiring and simple to follow, with enough technical information that you won't be left wondering how to proceed. Rainwater is also much better for plants than either city water or well water, which tends to have a high mineral content. Even high-rainfall areas have dry seasons and droughts, and the methods presented in this book will help your landscape thrive with less input from you. Clearly written with more than 40 photos and 115 illustrations. Rainsource Press. 2006. 183 pages. Printed on 50% post-consumer recycled paper.

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands, Volume 1     $25.00     Quantity:

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Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond
Volume 2: Water Harvesting Earthworks
by Brad Lancaster

      Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2 is a how-to guide for creating water-harvesting "earthworks." Earthworks are simple, inexpensive strategies and landforms that passively harvest free rainfall, runoff, air conditioning condensate, and greywater within the soil. Integrated vegetation then pumps the water back out in the form of beauty, food, shelter, wildlife habitat, timber, and passive heating and cooling, while controlling erosion, increasing soil fertility, reducing downstream flooding, dropping utility costs, and improving water and air quality.

      Building on the information in Volume 1, this volume shows you how to turn your yard, local school, or neighborhood into a lively, regenerative producer of resources. Conditions at home will improve as you simultaneously enrich the ecosystem and inspire the surrounding community.

      Learn to select, place, size, construct, and plant your chosen earthworks. Detailed step-by-step instructions with over 460 illustrations and photos show you how to do it, and plentiful stories of success motivate you so you will do it! Rainsource Press. 2008. 418 pages. Printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper.

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands, Volume 2     $33.00     Quantity:

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Water Storage
Tanks, Cisterns, Aquifers, and Ponds
For Domestic Supply, Fire and Emergency Use
Includes How to Make Ferrocement Water Tanks
by Art Ludwig of Oasis Design

      Water Storage describes how to store water for home, farm, and small communities. It will help you design storage for just about any use, including fire safety and emergency, in just about any context--urban, rural, or village. The book includes:

  • general principles to help you design, construct, and use any water system
  • a look at common mistakes and how to avoid them
  • how the different kinds of storage can serve you--tanks, groundwater, and ponds
  • how to determine the optimum amount of storage for your needs
  • how to determine the best shape and material for your storage
  • how to manage aquifers sustainably for inexpensive storage of water in the ground
  • plumbing details for inlets, outlets, drains, overflows, access, etc.
  • storage accessories and gadgets such as automatic shut-off valves, remote level indicators, ozonators, and filters
  • how to build your own high-quality tank from ferrocement
  • original design innovations--published for the first time--to improve the quality of stored water, increase water security, make maintenance easier, and reduce environmental impacts
  • real-life examples of storage designs for a wide range of contexts
      This book offers underlying design principles as well as design specifics. If you run into a situation not specifically covered, there's a good chance you'll be able to use these general principles to figure it out yourself. Installed water storage typically costs fifty cents to three dollars or more per gallon. If you've got this book in your hands, then you are probably on the verge of making decisions about hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of storage. On an average water system, this book could pay for itself a hundred times over in savings on construction and maintenance.

Water Storage: Tanks, Cisterns, Aquifers, and Ponds     $20.00     Quantity:


See also Greywater Systems


PO Box 684
Silver Star, MT 59751

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