Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond by Brad Lancaster


Articles referencing Brad Lancaster and his work

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“‘Save Our Water:’ Meet The Rain Harvesters Taking On The West’s Water Woes,” Marcello Rossi, The Guardian, July 8, 2021.

“A Desert City Tries to Save Itself with Rain” by Chris Malloy, Bloomberg City Lab, November 23, 2020.

“Neighborhood Foresters Work to Beautify Their Slice of Tucson,” by Doug Kreutz, Arizona Daily Star, November 17, 2017.

“How Tucson Uses Rain and Greywater to Keep Local Gardens Lush,” by Carl Nettleton, Triple Pundit, December 22, 2016.

“Tucson’s Rain-catching Revolution,” by Tony Davis, High Country News, April 27, 2015.

“How to Harvest Water: An Interview with Brad Lancaster,” by Pierce Nahigyan, Planet Experts, September 8, 2014.

“Rethinking Water Storage,” by Ivy Anderson, Water Efficiency, July-August 2014.

“Rain Man: How One Tucson Resident Harvests the Rain,” by Dan Kraker, MPR News, May 29, 2014.

“My Space—An Xtracycle Cargo Bike,” by Gabby Ferreira. 3Story Magazine, Volume II, Issue 8 · March 2014.

“Rainwater Harvesters Reap Bounty in Arid Tucson,” an August 15, 2013, blog post from the Great American Adaptation Road Trip.

“American Oasis,” a 2013 pilot multimedia piece featuring Brad and others who are building on the Sonoran Desert region’s water-harvesting heritage and traditions.

“Extreme Digging,” by Melanie Lenart, Scientific American Guest Blog, August 13, 2012.

“Taking the Permaculture Path to Community Resilience,” by Steve Whitman, AICP, and Sharon Ferguson.

“Where Every Day Is Earth Day,” by Julianna Crisalli, Aliso Viejo Patch, April 22, 2012.

“Eighth-Grader Designs Rainwater Harvesting Project,” by Carmen Ulloa, The Orange County Registry, April 4, 2012.

“Weed & Water Wednesday: A Favorite Desert Garden,” by Jessica Kellner, on Natural Home & Garden’s website, November 30, 2011.

“Think Green: Expert Offers Tips on Water Conservation to Local Builders,” by Adam D. Young, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, April 15, 2011.

“In Tucson, Saving the Bath Water Too,” by Amy Feldman, in Time.com’s Intelligent Cities series, February 25, 2011.  www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2026474_2026675_2055576,00.html

“Neighbors: Area’s trees creating cool urban effect,” by Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star, November 21, 2010. azstarnet.com/news/local/article_1b49c599-0f87-5f2d-a44a-e95c10f37c12.html?mode=story

“US Consulate Jeddah hosts the visit of two US speakers in conjunction with Earth Day program,” Website of Consulate General of the United States, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, April 2009.

“Going with the Flow Curbs Water Waste” opinion by Sam Negri, Arizona Daily Star, October 7, 2007. www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/204445.php

“Home Sustainable Home” by Tim Vanderpool, Tucson Weekly, October 2006.
Features the home and sustainable strategies of Brad and Rodd Lancaster. Note: towards the end of the article there is a misprint. It says, “…the average the average Tucson family, which uses about 20,000 gallons of water each year.” Actually, the average Tucson family of four uses about 240,900 gallons of water each year.

“Going Green with Greywater” by Larry Copenhauer, Tucson Citizen, July, 19, 2006.
An article on greywater reuse in Tucson, Arizona.

“From the Top of the Watershed Down” by Nancy Hand, Downtown Tucsonan, April 2006.
Click on “vital signs”, then click on “permaculture” on the site below.
Features the home and water-harvesting work of Brad and Rodd Lancaster.

“Water-Wise Oasis” by Marsha Scarbrough, originally published in Natural Home & Garden (now Mother Earth Living), September/October 2005 issue, pp. 64 – 69.
Features the home and water-harvesting work of Brad and Rodd Lancaster.

“Interview: Brad Lancaster: Free, Ever-Dependable Power” 110 Degrees, Arizona Daily Star, June 3, 2005.
Brad and Rodd disconnect from the grid.

“Harvesting Sun and Water” by Rhonda Bodfield Bloom, Arizona Daily Star, June, 10, 2004.

“Bountiful Harvest” by Kay Sather, Tucson Weekly, August 20 – 26, 1998.
Features Tucson water-harvesters.


Audio interviews and stories featuring Brad Lancaster

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Rainwater Harvesting for Tiny Houses (and Beyond!) with Brad Lancaster #155
Tiny House Lifestyle podcast

AZPM’s Arizona Spotlight: Feeding Our Future: Harvesting the Desert, story by Laura Markowitz
Laura features conversations about food security in Tucson with Desert Harvesters co-founder, Brad Lancaster; City of Tucson Sustainability Manager, Leslie Ethen; and director of UA’s Center for Regional Food Studies, Gary Nabhan. (October 13, 2016)

“Water Values” Podcast: Planting the Rain with Brad Lancaster
Brad Lancaster joins the Water Values to discuss permaculture and rainwater harvesting. Brad tells us how he got involved in the permaculture community and harvesting rainwater and greywater. Brad also goes into great detail about the method he uses to “plant the rain,” which is used in his rain gardens to irrigate soil, plants, and trees. He also explains how the soil helps filter out toxins from greywater to keep us safe and healthy, but also transforms those toxins in the greywater into a valuable fertilizing resource for the plants. Brad talks about how other communities across the country are adopting the use of greywater and rainwater harvesting and how he’s working with them to create a more sustainable future. Tune into this week’s episode for fascinating insights on planting the rain! (December 9, 2014)

KZYX Water Wise series: Rainwater Harvesting interview with Brad Lancaster
Mendocino County Public Broadcasting aired a locally produced a weekly “Water Wise” series during the month of August 2014. These programs focused on ways to adapt to low-water conditions with strategies for home and landowners to make the best use of every drop and help mitigate the effects of drought in their home and landscape. The series was hosted by Linda MacElwee from the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District and Mary Aigner. Brad’s live interview with call-in questions was aired on August 26, 2014.

8 Principles for Welcoming Rain into Your Life and Landscape
Marjory Wildcraft’s interview with Brad Lancaster, July 23, 2014

Harvesting Rainwater by Not Letting It Go to Waste
NPR’s Morning Edition interview with Brad Lancaster, January 10, 2008

Tucson Man Harvests Rainwater
NPR’s Ted Robbins September 17, 2008 interview with Brad Lancaster

Dancing in the Rain: Interview with Brad Lancaster on New Dimensions Radio, Program #3175
Available in the form of an MP3 download from the New Dimensions Media website. Go to:
www.newdimensions.org then enter 3175 in the search box.

The annual rainfall in Tucson, Arizona, where Brad Lancaster lives, is about twelve inches. By harvesting the runoff from the roof, and the roads he radically reduces or eliminates the need for irrigation in the gardens he creates. By returning the water to the same watershed, he creates a cycle of abundance that sustains not just one family, but the neighborhood and the entire ecosystem as well. He adds solar power into the mix, and plants food-bearing native shade trees to cool the home. The result is an oasis in the desert, with a model that can be applied in any community, from desert to coastal ranges and from remote rural homesteads to suburbia. Most important, it’s a model that can help solve an impending water crisis facing communities across the globe. Mr. Lancaster’s enthusiasm for his work is contagious. He exclaims, “It’s all great, juicy stuff, because as you start to harvest the water, you start to harvest the sun, you really start to tune in to what’s around you, to the seasons, to the rainfall. I just love that, because it makes me feel a lot more alive, a lot more connected.” Brad Lancaster is a permaculture designer, consultant, and educator, and co-founder of Desert Harvesters, which promotes ecological and nutrition awareness for Arizona youth. He has taught at the Ecosa Institute in Prescott, Arizona; Prescott College; Columbia University; University of Arizona; Audubon Expedition, and many other institutions. He is the author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1: Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life and Landscape (Rainsource Press 2006). (Hosted by Michael Toms and Justine Willis Toms)

Harvesting Water from Rooftops
By Jason Margolis of PRI’s The World, January 15, 2008

Transforming Water Scarcity into Water Abundance
The issue of scarcity is arguably the most recognizable one surrounding water, particularly in arid regions of the world. Is water really scarce or is there abundant water if we simply choose to make changes in our lifestyles and land use activities? Permaculture, rainwater harvesting, and watershed restoration may soon become commonplace for people living in arid climates. Show aired on July 27, 2006 on Exploring Water’s Essence with Dr. West Marrin.

Books highlighting some of Brad’s work

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The Soil Keepers: Interviews with practitioners on the ground beneath our feet by Nance Klehm. Terra Fluxus Publishing, 2019. pp. 312-319.

Mesquite: An Arboreal Love Affair by Gary Paul Nabhan, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2018. pp. 79-80

Small Homes: The Right Size, by Lloyd Kahn. Shelter Publications, 2017. pp. 186–189.

Change Comes to Dinner: How Vertical Farmers, Urban Growers, and Other Innovators Are Revolutionizing How America Eats, by Katherine Gustafson. St. Martin’s Press, 2012. pp. 241–246.

Creating Rain Gardens: Capturing the Rain for Your Own Water-Efficient Garden, by Cleo Woelfle-Erskine and Apryl Uncapher. Timber Press, 2012.

The New American Landscape: Leading Voices on the Future of Sustainable Gardening, edited by Thomas Christopher. Timber Press, 2011. pp. 112–118.

Bird on Fire: Lessons From the World’s Least Sustainable City, by Andrew Ross, Oxford University Press, 2011, p. 223.

Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It, by Robert Glennon. Island Press, 2009. pp 189–190.

Dam Nation: Dispatches from the Water Underground, edited by Cleo Woelfe-Erskine, July Oskar Cole, and Laura Allen. Soft Skull Press, 2007. pp 100–107.

Engaging Uninvolved Communities in Urban Forestry: It’s About More Than Trees, by Colleen Carroll, EdD. Nature Talks Publishing, Kauai, Hawaii, 2007. pp 20–25. Contact NatureTalks@gmail.com to obtain copies.

The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America’s Underground Food Movements, by Sandor Ellix Katz. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2006. pp 100–101.

Suburban Safari: A Year on the Lawn, by Hannah Holmes. Bloomsbury, 2005. pp 127–130.

Superbia!: 31 Ways to Create Sustainable Neighborhoods, by Dan Chiras and Dave Wann. New Society Publishers, 2003.

Sustainable Design: A Planbook for Sonoran Desert Dwellings, by Eileen Alduenda. Tucson Institute of Sustainable Communities, 1999. pp. 81–91.

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Umbrella Newsletter

The Umbrella: Summer 2020

THE UMBRELLA: A catch-all of resources, events, media, and more from Brad Lancaster In this time of Covid-19 and spending more time at home to be safe, I’ve been grateful for the solace, inspiration, and bountiful sustenance my water-harvesting gardens, landscape, and neighborhood forest has provided me, my family, friends, and neighbors. Record summer heat […]

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