Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond by Brad Lancaster

Drops in a Bucket Blog

This blog is a celebration of wonderful little efforts that lead to great things. In the beginning those small efforts often seem like little more than a drop in a bucket. However, this is great if they’re drops in the bucket of abundance. With enough drops we’ll fill the bucket! A drop in a bucket is a problem only if it’s a drop in the wrong bucket—the bucket of scarcity.

My hope is that this blog will help plant many seeds to enhance good efforts already in the works and to influence positive change on the local level, simultaneously affecting the global.

December 18, 2013

Dance with—and Harvest—the Sun and Shadows! New Videos Show You How

by Brad Lancaster © 2013
www.HarvestingRainwater.com
www.SunAndShadeHarvesting.com
I heat, light, and power my home primarily with the sun, and cool it primarily with shadows and natural ventilation. Free/passive strategies are at the core of how I make all this work. Examples include choosing a home oriented to the sun, likewise orienting my landscape to the sun, allowing [...]

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December 16, 2013

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Wins 2013 Literary Awards

This year’s release of the updated, expanded Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition has won three literary awards:
* Best Indie Books of 2013 by Kirkus Reviews in the Nonfiction category
* 2013 USA Best Book Award in the General Home category
* 2013 Southwest Books of the Year pick
More awards could be on [...]

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October 28, 2013

Rainwater Harvesting in Puglia, Italy

by Brad Lancaster © 2013
www.HarvestingRainwater.com
This past September I had the great pleasure of teaching (and learning more about) ancient and modern water and sun harvesting in the Puglia region of southern Italy. Flying in, I saw perennial food-producing solar-power systems everywhere in the form of olive, almond, apricot, peach, loquat, apple, quince, fig, pomegranate, walnut, [...]

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September 27, 2013

I Knew It Was the Fall Equinox On September 22 Because My Sun- & Shade-Harvesting Sculpture/Calendar Told Me So!

by Brad Lancaster © 2013
www.HarvestingRainwater.com
I designed the sizing and placement of the roof overhang/gutter and windows on my garottage (one-car garage turned cottage) in Tucson, Arizona, to let the sun’s rays in when I need them for heating, and shade the sun’s rays out when I need cooling.

The sculpture shown in the photos below celebrates [...]

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September 12, 2013

Giveaway of Brad’s Newly Released Book, “Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition”

From September 25 to October 8, 2013, I’ll be conducting an autographed-book giveaway for U.S.-based book readers on the website GoodReads. (Note: To get in the running for one of 5 free copies, you’ll first need to become a member at www.GoodReads.com, but this is super quick and easy.)
Please sign up if you are interested! [...]

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May 28, 2013

What Renters (and Non-Renters) Can Do to Harvest and Enhance Water, Sun, Shade, Wind, Community, and More

by Brad Lancaster © 2013
www.HarvestingRainwater.com
You don’t need to own property to engage with, harvest, cycle, and enhance your local resources—and your potential to live collaboratively with them. Below are some ideas all elaborated upon within the books Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition and Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume [...]

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January 28, 2013

Stepping Up To Look At, Discuss, and Address Climate Change

by Brad Lancaster © 2013
www.HarvestingRainwater.com
Brad’s nephew Vaughan playing in the rain, the runoff from which is passively directed to our street-side food-bearing, native shade trees.
Climate change is real, it’s well underway, and we need to step up and make it a major part of the national dialog now, as we all work on solutions. The [...]

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September 22, 2011

Watershed Maps Are Community Maps

by Brad Lancaster © 2011
www.HarvestingRainwater.com
A watershed is “that area of land, a bounded hydrological system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of a community.”
— John Wesley Powell
Political boundaries are arbitrary. Watershed boundaries are real.
Click here for [...]

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September 14, 2011

Images of Contemporary Water-Harvesting Art

by Brad Lancaster © 2011
www.HarvestingRainwater.com
Show the flow. Cycle it. Celebrate it. Know it. And as you do, show others the way.
The following three images are installations that I feel show and celebrate the flow. Their beauty lures me in, and invites me to look deeper. See more images in the Contemporary Water-Harvesting Art gallery, part [...]

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September 4, 2011

Images of Ancient Water-Harvesting Art

by Brad Lancaster © 2011
www.HarvestingRainwater.com
There is a tradition of harvesting rainwater in all human-inhabited drylands of the world where it rains (and a great many wet areas that also experience dry seasons). I’ve been very lucky to have been able to travel to, and learn from, some of them.
Below are three images. One from Israel. [...]

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July 20, 2011

Human-Empowered, Enlightened, and Energized Transport

by Brad Lancaster © 2011
www.HarvestingRainwater.com
Brad transporting plants
Years ago at a red light I looked into the car beside me and saw the frowning driver’s hair blowing into the back seat as though she were leaning into a mighty storm. But her windows were up. The gale was coming from her air conditioner—on a beautiful day [...]

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July 8, 2011

Roman- and Byzantine-era Cisterns of the Past Reviving Life in the Present

All photos and text by Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com © 2011
This is number six in a series of Drops in a Bucket Blog posts on Brad Lancaster’s water wanderings in the Middle East; this trip led in part to Volume 1 of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond being translated into Arabic, and Brad’s participation [...]

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September 6, 2010

Water Wise Women of Jordan

by Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com, © 2010
Jordan Valley, Jordan, 2009
One day my guides Mohammed Ayesh of NCARE and Iqbal of JOHUD took me to an oasis.
The village we were in was strewn with garbage, and the soil was bare and severely eroded. Houses were made from concrete brick and whatever materials could be scavenged. Then we [...]

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August 23, 2010

Revolving Community Loans for “Water From Allah”

by Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com, © 2010
Number 4 in a series of Drops in a Bucket blog posts on Brad Lancaster’s and David Eisenberg’s U.S. State Department-sponsored adventures and gleanings in the Middle East

Northern Jordan, April 2009
Throughout northern Jordan we visited dynamic villages that were enhancing their quality of life by recycling water and money as [...]

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July 24, 2010

Palm Oasis and Red Bread at Al Absaa, Saudi Arabia

by Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com, © 2010
Number 3 in a series of Drops in a Bucket blog entries on Brad Lancaster’s and David Eisenberg’s U.S. State Department-sponsored adventures and gleanings in the Middle East
Al Absaa, Saudi Arabia, April 2009
At Al Absaa we toured irrigation projects within the largest oasis in Saudi Arabia. Over one million date [...]

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July 17, 2010

Cisterns of Old Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

or If You Pray for Rain – Harvest It
By Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com, ©2010
Number 2 in a series of Drops in a Bucket blog entries on Brad Lancaster’s and David Eisenberg’s U.S. State Department-sponsored adventures and gleanings in the Middle East
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, April 2009
Most of the water people now drink in Saudi Arabia is [...]

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July 7, 2010

Harvesting Air-Conditioning Condensate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Beyond

or If You—and Your Drink—Sweat, Then Harvest Condensate
By Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com, ©2010
I am finally getting to the sharing of my travel gleanings. This is the first of a series to follow – so keep checking back. This piece is from my U.S. State Department-sponsored trip to Jordan and Saudi Arabia in 2009. David Eisenberg of [...]

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June 29, 2010

Permaculture in Palestine: Guest Blogger Craig Mackintosh

Many thanks to Craig Mackintosh for the permission to repost a portion of his blog entry, enhanced with his own beautiful photographs, describing some of his Middle-Eastern travel experiences and the West Bank’s first PDC, which Murad Alkhuffash, David Spicer, and I just finished teaching. Visit permaculture.org.au/2010/06/30/letters-from-the-west-bank-seeds-of-hope-scattered-from-the-west-banks-first-pdc to read Craig’s blog entry in its entirety.
Letters [...]

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May 10, 2010

Watergy

By Brad Lancaster
© 2010 www.HarvestingRainwater.com
Watergy is a term coined to describe the interconnection of water and energy. Every time we consume power we consume water. This is because water is used in the generation of our power – in Arizona this figure ranges from 0.001 to 56 gallons of water per kWh of power consumed.1 [...]

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April 27, 2010

No-Effort, No-Cost Water Harvesting

By Julia Fonseca
Whew, digging swales and basins is hard work!  Gutters and tanks are expensive.  And as the skimpy summer rains of 2009 demonstrated, how do you harvest rain when the rain refuses to fall?
Fortunately, there is a way to harvest water, even during droughts.  It costs nothing, and requires no expenditure of energy.  Can [...]

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April 6, 2010

Rain Beer

By Brad Lancaster
© 2010 www.HarvestingRainwater.com
Rainwater is known as “sweet water” throughout much of the world due to its pure “sweet” flavor when compared to brackish, alkaline, chemically-treated, or polluted ground and surface waters. Now it is also known as “beer water.” And folks, it is good – very good.
I sampled numerous pints of Golden Number [...]

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March 12, 2010

Green Burials

By Brad Lancaster
© 2010 Drops in a Bucket Blog, www.HarvestingRainwater.com
When I was little I was terrified of death. I often cried myself to sleep as I thought of the end of life. It seemed so bleak, pointless, and severe.
Mom tried to comfort me with the concept of going to heaven. This did not reassure me [...]

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July 27, 2009

Garden Hose Dangers and Recommendations

© 2009 Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com

Many garden hoses leach lead and other chemicals into the water as it sits in the hose. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brass fittings are often the culprits.
Yuck – the water tastes like lead!
To reduce such risk, purchase, use, and/or drink only from hoses labeled safe for drinking water. Never buy any [...]

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March 24, 2009

Harvesting Urban Drool

How the harvest of urban nuisance runoff is reviving a community

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March 6, 2009

Crushed Rock Landscapes–Bandage on a Larger Problem

Crushed rock or decomposed granite used excessively on landscapes grinds up mountains to spread them out in yards, but there are alternatives.

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January 23, 2009

Australian Water Efficiency Recommendations to U.S. Cities

Recommendations from an Australian delegation touring U.S. cities to share their experiences with water efficiency as a result of prolonged drought

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January 7, 2009

Street Orchards for Community Security

Harvesting street runoff to passively irrigate community orchards and support public celebrations

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December 19, 2008

Great Water-Harvesting Financial Incentives in Arizona

Check out, and apply for, up to $1,200 in these tax credits for water harvesting systems

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December 14, 2008

Parking Lot to Parking Orchard

A simple retrofit of a parking lot enabling it to harvest water and grow food-producing shade trees.

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August 23, 2008

Farming in the City with Runoff From a Street

How runoff from apartment roofs, a parking lot, and a city street irrigated a bountiful 1-acre city farm

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August 23, 2008

Drops in a Bucket – welcome to my new blog

An introduction

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