Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond by Brad Lancaster

Water-Harvesting Video Gallery

See Brad Lancaster – Harvesting Rainwater, Brad’s channel on YouTube, for additional videos. New videos will be added periodically.

Dryland-harvesting home hacks sun, rain, food & surroundings
Join Kirsten Dirksen as she tours with Brad around his home, his and his brother’s urban-Tucson property, and the surrounding neighborhood, learning about their harvests of rainwater, stormwater, wild foods, sun, shade, would-be-wastes, and more.

American Oasis Ch 1
Watch and read the American Oasis story about Brad Lancaster and others who are building on the region’s water-harvesting heritage and traditions.

Watch Brad’s TEDxTucson talk, Planting the Rain to Grow Abundance

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Integrated Local Harvests, a.k.a., Innovations in Solar and Water
In May 2015, Brad was once of many creative visionaries who presented at the Coneybeare Cleantech Conference in Irvine, California. Midway through his water-harvesting and integrated-design presentation, Brad engaged the attendees in some kinesthetic learning about working with the Earth’s seasons via the Sun-Path Dance.

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Water Rainglers

A short, very sweet film featuring Greg Peterson of the Urban Farm, Ryan Wood of Watershed Management Group, Ken Singh of Singh Farms, and Brad Lancaster talking about place-based, community-building, common-sense solutions to Arizona’s water needs. Film by ASU students Ren Andres, Philemon Henry, and Thomas Hawthorne.

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Dry Land, Episode 5 of the Greenhorns’ Our Land Series
Brad discusses how we can work with nature to deconstruct our water woes back into water wins.

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Locals Promote Rainwater Harvesting In Creative Forms
This rainwater-harvesting segment from AZ Illustrated Nature features the work of and interviews with landscape designer Logan Byers (Local Design + Build) and rainwater-harvesting expert Brad Lancaster.

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Homemade Cisterns Help Harvest Rain
This new Arizona Public Media video/story on a rain-jar cooperative shows how rain-irrigated trees are bringing life—in many varied forms—back to the Dunbar/Spring neighborhood.

3C. 4.39C Garottage summer noon
Sun- & Shade-Harvesting Awning & Roof Overhang
This video highlights how properly designed roof overhangs and window awnings can provide free shade and cooling in the hot summer months, as well as maximizing sun exposure and free light and heating in the cold winter months. See Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition, and the Sun & Shade Harvesting page of this website for more.

Lancaster Water-Harvesting Overview
Overview of Lancaster-Homestead Water-Harvesting Strategies
A water-harvesting overview highlighting some of the strategies implemented at the Lancaster homestead to harvest street runoff, roof runoff (with simple filtration), and greywater. See Brad’s award-winning books, Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, and elsewhere on this website for more.

Free Water
Focus Forward films “highlight exceptional people and world-changing ideas that are impacting the course of human development, changing our lives for the better. These short 3-minute stories introduce visionaries and thinkers and in some cases everyday folks who have brought a quantum leap to human progress by their efforts and inventions.”

Tucson filmmaker Andrew Brown says, “A short film I made on local rainwater-harvesting genius Brad Lancaster was a semifinalist in the Focus Forward film competition! I would really appreciate it if you took the time to check it out… and share if you can. I really believe in Brad’s message.”

Please check out this great short video on the potential of planting the rain. And for more juicy info on the harvest and enhancement of rainwater and other on-site resources check out www.HarvestingRainwater.com and www.DesertHarvesters.org!

Brad Lancaster on Arizona Illustrated
Tony Paniagua of Arizona Illustrated talks with Brad about water harvesting, native landscaping, and other water-related issues in the studio of Arizona Public Media on August 4, 2011.

Water Harvesting Demo with Brad Lancaster
Using a sponge model as a demonstration tool, Brad Lancaster shows us the effectiveness of harvesting rain.
Produced by Jill Cloutier and Carol Hirashima for the Creative Commons…. Spread the information!

Making a Bunyip Water Level with Brad Lancaster
Brad Lancaster demonstrates how to make a bunyip water level with a few simple tools you can find in your garage or at a local hardware store.
Produced by GreenBridge Media for the Creative Commons…. Spread the information!

Bunyip Water Level: Creating Berms, A Demo on the Beach with Brad Lancaster
Brad Lancaster, a rainwater-harvesting expert, demonstrates how to build a berm using a homemade bunyip water level. View this video to learn how a bunyip water level works.
© GreenBridgeMedia.com. Share this video!

Desert Living 12-13-2013: Desert Harvesters, Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood, Little Houses, Natural Building Materials
In this short video, originally broadcast on 12-24-2007, tucson12.tv touches on a number of juicy things going on in central Tucson. Harvesting street runoff to grow food-producing street trees and then processing the bounty to bring the neighborhood together for a big mesquite milling and pancake breakfast is just some of the good stuff. Check it out by scrolling down to and clicking on the 12/24/2007 Desert Harvesters program.

Brad Lancaster and ECOSA Institute
This short video by Malcolm Matusky is compiled from clips and stills taken during field-study days with Brad and ECOSA Institute students, and includes Brad’s description of what beneficial ruins are and why we would want to create them.

Brad Lancaster Growing Street Trees with Harvested Street Runoff, Part 1

This short video from SustainableRoute.com shows how we harvest the runoff from the street to passively irrigate street trees shading the street in Tucson, Arizona. Tucson receives 12 inches (304 mm) of rain in an average year of precipitation.

Brad Lancaster Growing Street Trees and More with Harvested Street Runoff, Part 2
This short video from SustainableRoute.com shows how we’ve created urban wildlife habitat, food-production, beauty, living air conditioners, and community in the urban core with rainwater-irrigated street trees. Street trees shading over about 80% of the street can reduce summer temperatures by 10 degrees F. The average residential street in Tucson drains about a million gallons of rain per mile per year. Yet if we instead directed that street runoff to curbside, mulched, water-harvesting basins and native street trees – we could support over 400 trees per mile, or a tree every 25 feet on both sides of the street, just on harvested rainfall and street runoff. Get more information from Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2: Water-Harvesting Earthworks.

Brad Lancaster: Water-Harvesting Basics, Part 1
Part 1 of 3 short videos from Sustainable World Media in which Brad talks about Water Harvesting and more

Brad Lancaster: the muffin tin and sponge models
Two water-harvesting demonstrations filmed by Sustainable World Media

“Saving Water” produced by Tony Paniagua, Arizona Illustrated, November 2, 2005. Courtesy of KUAT Communications Group, www.kuat.org. This video segment features my brother’s and my site much matured, along with info on Arizona’s 10-year drought, the need for water conservation, and some ways we’re addressing it.

“Permaculture” produced by Ted Robbins, Arizona Illustrated, September 11, 1998. Courtesy of KUAT Communications Group, www.kuat.org. This video segment features the rough and early days of my brother’s and my site’s development.

Der Wüstensonne entgegen — Eine Winterreise durch Arizona, Teil 3
A German television program included a segment with Brad in their series, Toward the Western Sun, A Winter Trip through Arizona. Dust off your German and watch Brad’s segment from 1:03 to 5:59.

Rainwater Harvesting, inverted-umbrella style
. This is one of my favorite videos. A beautiful call to water harvesting by the Centre for Science and Environment in India.

A Wonderful Example of an Inner-City Residence Retrofitted for Water-Harvesting in Los Angeles, California. This is a great example for cities everywhere, and beautiful street theater. Non-profit, TreePeople, put out a press release that a 1,500-year flood would hit a single residential property, but all would be okay due to a water-harvesting retrofit of cisterns, swales, infiltration basins, and dry wells. See this video for the TV coverage of the event when 4,000 gallons of water from fire hoses was dumped onto the property in 10 minutes. Not a drop of water left the property; all was beneficially harvested. Flood control and water security all in one go!

Lancaster Multi-Pipe Washing Machine Greywater System
See our pipe-to-fruit-tree gravity-fed greywater-harvesting system that is also a solar-powered neighborhood laundromat!

An improved drumless laundry greywater system installed with the help of the Greywater Guerrillas, now known as Greywater Action.
For installation instructions and much more on the Improved Drumless Laundry Greywater System see:
This system uses irrigation tubing and the force of the washing machine’s built in pump.
It is also called: Laundry to Landscape Greywater System, Laundry to Mulch Basins Greywater, and a Drumless Laundry Greywater System

Greening the Desert II is a dynamic water harvesting project in Jordan. This video is a great update of the original version. Click here to watch the video with Arabic subtitles. For more information and data on this project, see the article, “Permaculture Under Drought and Salinity Conditions,” by Mohammed Ayesh, a Jordanian agricultural engineer who has long been involved in the project.

Don’t Make Us Ask You Again.
Las Vegas, Nevada, Water Conservation Commercial
Humorous and to the point.

The Truth of Bottled Water
A great video and prank by Penn and Teller illustrating how bogus bottled water is—namely that is not as safe nor clean nor as tasty as most U.S. tap water—and that bottled water costs more than gasoline.

The Story of Bottled Water
The Story of Stuff take on bottled water

Transform Space Into Place
A wonderful video about the work of City Repair in Portland, Oregon, reclaiming streets and other public spaces for life, community-building, creativity, and celebration.

The Daily Show Interview with Robert Glennon, author of Unquenchable
Nice interview giving you a taste of Robert’s great new book, and a dose of reality in regards to how we “manage” the precious resource of water. Click “Robert Glennon” under Episode Clips if video does not load automatically.

Chasing Water
Photojournalist Pete McBride asks: Is the Colorado River more than just the plumbing for our western states? He journeys from the river-irrigated fields of his family ranch in Colorado to the Sea of Cortez to find out.

Home, by Yann Arthus-Bertrand
This visually dramatic film illustrates the planet’s fragile state entirely from a birds-eye view in stunning high definition. With spectacular aerial views from more than 50 countries, viewers will see the extent of human impact on our landscapes. And not a moment too soon: In the past 50 years—less than a single lifetime—the Earth has been more radically changed than by all previous generations of humanity (synopsis by National Geographic).

Billy Kniffen Watershed Model
I love this 3-D interactive model! It works for all ages. Clearly shows how different watershed surfaces affect our water quality and quantity. Billy is a tireless, master water-harvesting instructor for ARCSA and the Texas Agriculture Extension service.

Ray’s Soil Health Lecture

Great demonstrations on the comparative performance of untilled farm soil that is high in organic matter, versus regularly tilled, synthetically fertilized soil. Also included are other tips on land conservation. If you like this, you can find more here.

Miracle on Elmer Avenue
Andy Lipkis, Founder and President of TreePeople, talks about Elmer Avenue, a neighborhood in Los Angeles’ NE San Fernando Valley that was transformed from a flood-hazard zone into a model of sustainability.

Slow the Flow: Make Your Landscape Act More Like a Sponge
This informative and entertaining film brings to life practices and projects that individuals and communities have created to steward our watersheds and slow the flow of stormwater, one of the largest contributors of pollution into our waterways. Approximate run time: 30 minutes.

Meghalaya’s Living Bridges
Living arbor-tecture bridges that take care of seven generations to come.

Our planet’s ocean currents
NASA views our perpetual ocean

Mr. Brown sings “Don’t Flush Your Mush” in celebration of composting toilets
Learn to compost your human waste into free, safe, on-site high-quality fertilizer that will make your garden lush!

Check out the following Mr. Brown-friendly links:
 Illustrated guides on building and using simple, low-cost, site-built compost toilets. I use and love the barrel composting-toilet system.
Many great composting-toilet resources
Soil Stewards – an Arizona effort spearheaded by Watershed Management Group to pioneer affordable and legal site-built composting toilets


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The Umbrella: Spring Equinox 2017

A catch-all of resources,
events, media, and more
from Brad Lancaster
Spring Equinox 2017
Around here we like to rhyme with the seasons whenever possible. In this case, that means welcoming the fast-approaching beginning of SPRING (the Vernal Equinox (in the northern hemisphere) is March 20 this year in Tucson, and marks one of only two […]

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