About Brad Lancaster
Since 1993 I’ve run a successful permaculture consulting, design, and education business focused on integrated and sustainable approaches to landscape design, planning, and living. And as I live in the dryland environment, rainwater harvesting has long been one of my specialties and a passion. Through my business I’ve been able to share this passion and many of the fun innovations and daily adventures that come about from striving to live more sustainably and comfortably in the Sonoran Desert. At home my brother and I harvest over 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year on a 1/8-acre urban lot and adjoining right-of-way. This harvested water is then 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 up to 20° F (11° C), reduce water and energy bills, and require little more than rainwater to thrive. Outside the home, I have helped others do the same and enabled clients to create ephemeral springs, raise the level of water wells, and shade and beautify neighborhood streets by harvesting their street runoff in adjacent tree wells.
I started writing the Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond series as a way to empower my clients and my community to make such positive change in their own lives and back yards by harvesting rainwater. I wanted to provide an accessible resource that explains what water harvesting is, how to do it appropriately, and how to modify it to the unique conditions of everyone’s own site. I believe we all can become beneficial stewards of the land, and partners in the ecosystem in which we live, and I believe that by harvesting rainwater sustainably we can all begin to transform our households from consumers of resources to producers of resources. Drawing on my years of teaching, consulting, designing, on-the-ground implementation, and learning from others, I offer readers my clear and simple process to assess and design their own water harvesting landscapes.