This second installment of a series offers a rainwater collection guide.
Several years ago, Lancaster (Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond: Volume 1, 2013, etc.) met an African water farmer named Zephaniah Phiri Maseko, who had created a lush paradise on his arid property by “planting the rain” with the help of earthworks, or simple strategies and landforms that capture water and runoff. Eager to adapt Phiri’s concepts to his dry climate in Tucson, Arizona, the author created rainwater and graywater runoff collection systems in his own backyard. Currently, he harvests about 100,000 gallons of rain and runoff annually in his small, Southwestern oasis. This comprehensive second edition includes Lancaster’s revised tactics for rainwater harvesting, new anecdotes, a host of visually pleasing images by debut illustrator Marshall, and many colorful photographs by the author and others. Much of the book extols the virtues of various earthworks—like berms that capture runoff and spread water over a broad area. Using earthworks can also flush out bad salts from the soil over time, reducing the loss of precious farmland. Lancaster’s smooth prose is easy to read, and it’s not necessary to have a scientific mind in order to understand his eight common-sense principles for rainwater harvesting. For example, he suggests that potential water farmers begin by studying the land to learn its patterns of rain and sediment flow and determine the best type of earthworks needed. Practical tools are included, such as illustrated, boxed instructions for measuring the slope of the land. Presenting many choices of earthworks—such as mulching, digging basins and trenches, planting vegetation, and building terraces—this expansive volume provides inspiration for harvesting rain and runoff in many types of yards and farmland. The author also delivers inspiration and advice for ways to harvest and reuse wastewater from appliances like washing machines. Readers who enjoy real-life success stories will find plenty of memorable ones here. For example, Chris Meuli of Albuquerque, New Mexico, fills trenches with junk mail, creating a “sponge” for watering trees.
A valuable wellspring of hands-on advice for effective watershed stewardship.