Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond by Brad Lancaster

Archive for the 'Drops in a Bucket Blog' Category

Resources for Passive & Active Water Harvesting, Greywater Harvesting, and Site-Built Compost Toilets

Compiled by Brad Lancaster

The following resources were compiled as part of a workshop presented at the 2021 Rocky Mountain Natural Building Conference.

 

Passive Water Harvesting – plant the rain

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 3rd Edition, by Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2, 2nd Edition, by Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com

https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/rainwater-harvesting-inforesources/

 

 

Active Rainwater Harvesting – tank the rain

https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/rainwater-harvesting-inforesources/

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 3rd Edition, by Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com

 

 

Greywater Harvesting
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2, 2nd Edition, by Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com. See chapter 12 and Appendix 3 for greywater harvesting and dark greywater (kitchen sink drainwater) harvesting

https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/greywater-harvesting/

www.OasisDesign.net – books by Art Ludwig, innovations, works to change codes

Database of greywater harvesting laws by state
http://oasisdesign.net/greywater/law/

Greywater Action – workshops, policy, guidance, works to change codes
www.GreywaterAction.org

How greywater harvesting was legalized and simplified in Utah
https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/2020/08/23/simple-effective-gravity-fed-greywater-harvesting-systems-legalized-in-utah/

How Safe, Effective, and Accessible Residential Greywater Harvesting was legalized in Arizona – see Chapter 12 of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2, 2nd Edition

Greywater harvesting stub-outs
https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/greywater-harvesting/greywater-harvesting-stub-outs/

 


Site-Built Composting Toilets

https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/rainwater-harvesting-inforesources/resources/composting-toilets/


The Humanure Handbook – A Guide to Composting Human Manure, 4th edition,
by Joseph Jenkins, 2019. A very informative, exhaustively researched, and entertaining book that will have you turning turds into tomatoes in no time.
https://humanurehandbook.com/

www.omick.net
A wonderful website highlighting the ongoing exploration of some practical aspects of simple, land-integrated living. David and Pearl offer the best dryland composting toilet information and workshops I’ve come across. Two of their inexpensive site-built composting toilet designs are now legal and can be permitted in the state of Arizona.
How to Build a Composting-Toilet Barrel System, video with David Omick
How to Use and Maintain a Composting-Toilet Barrel System, video with David Omick

https://watershedmg.org/resource/composting-toilet
This site shows you how to permit, build, and maintain site-built compost toilets in Arizona

KailashEcovillage.com
This is a wonderful site documenting Ole and Maitri Ersson’s experiments with composting toilets, rainwater harvesting systems, small houses and more. They have fully permitted “loveable loo” bucket composting toilet system and urine capture and fertilization in Portland, Oregon. Search their website for more details on these efforts.
Here’s a great video on some of the Kailash Ecovillage compost toilet, agriculture, and de-paving work

https://oaec.org/our-work/projects-and-partnerships/compost-toilet-project/
OAEC compost toilet project in California

https://richearthinstitute.org/
Rich Earth Institute Brattleboro, VT – NGO making/teaching fertilizer from urine

https://greywateraction.org/composting-toilets/
Workshops, education, policy work

Companies with compost toilet services for events – great alternative to stinky, chemical-based porta-johns
– Natural Event in Australia https://www.naturalevent.com.au/
– Compost toilet services for events in Utah http://www.greatoutdoorstoilets.com/

https://www.oursoil.org/
Service in Haiti that picks up and processes bucket toilets off site, then returns clean empty buckets

https://ecoflo.com.au/blog/are-composting-toilets-legal-in-australia
Compost toilet laws in Australia

www.ecosanres.org

 

Groups working to change codes for less expensive and more sustainable options

 

 

 

Principles for Changing Policy that allows for, and incentivizes more regenerative practices

by Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com and David Omick, www.Omick.net

 

The following principles for policy change were derived from and informed by the experiences of David Omick, Pearl Mast, and Brad Lancaster in working with state, county, and city officials to change codes and shape policy (related to passive and active rainwater harvesting, greywater harvesting, and site-built compost toilets) to allow and incentivize safe, effective, low cost, accessible strategies that strive to collaborate with—and strengthen—the health of our household, community, and planetary ecologies and economies.

These principles are a first draft of a work in progress we put together for a workshop at the 2021 Rocky Mountain Natural Building Conference. Feel free to critique and evolve them with your own experiences.
I plan to evolve and edit them over time.

 

Action is typically at the state level
If state does not allow your action, it is likely that the county or municipality won’t either.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts out minimum standards and leaves it up to the states to guide and enforce those requirements. Each state does it differently.

County implements the rules the state sets.

In South Texas, working on the county level, David Omick got provisional permission for a couple of composting toilet designs at a specific pilot project site, but got no further, in that the designs were not legalized at the state level, so no one else was able to utilize the designs.

 

 

Once an overall strategy is legal, aspects can be shifted/evolved on the local level
For example, once greywater harvesting systems were legalized in the state of Arizona; Brad Lancaster, Watershed Management Group, and other activists  were able to advocate/lobby for greywater harvesting stub outs to be mandated in new home construction in the City of Tucson.

We also got on the advisory committee to help shape the City’s greywater-harvesting stub out requirement. And we worked with Mayor and Council to pressure the City’s development standards department to revise the requirement when aspects were found not to be working. (The original requirement was made to be convenient for the home builder, not the home occupant; so the stub-out outlets were buried with the sewer line – too deep to be affordable, accessible, or to work with a gravity-fed systems. We again got on the advisory committee—this time to revise the stub out requirement—and those issues have been resolved).

 

Street runoff-harvesting example.
Through the positive examples of well-maintained guerilla street runoff harvesting installations and community education, activists were able to pressure and inspire the City to mandate street runoff harvesting in new road construction.  

 

Rainwater-harvesting rebate.
Activists such as Brad Lancaster, Watershed Management Group and others were part of the advisory committee shaping rebate.

 

Greywater-harvesting rebate.
Activists such as Brad Lancaster, Watershed Management Group and others were part of the advisory committee shaping rebate

 

Such local efforts can be initiated by approaching and working directly with City/County staff or by working with a City council or county supervisor who supports your efforts and will direct staff to work with you.

 

 

Get all your ducks in a row
In approaching people at state level, research what department oversees what you are proposing. It may be dept of environment quality, health, other.

Before approaching officials, get precedent/documentation from other states, countries, and/or organizations that have already led the way on what you are proposing, get documentation on what those states’ specific rules are. If a path has already been forged elsewhere, officials will be more likely to look at and walk down that path.

Keep in mind you are talking to engineers and policy makers – must appeal to them. Keep all woo woo and philosophy out of conversation. They want to see numbers, data, and rules. Give them precedent. Especially from similar climate.

Liability will be a concern.

 

 

Present yourself well
Officials are often impressed if you can bring anyone with credentials such as PhD with their name, especially if it relates to the proposed strategy/action.
Though years of experience using, evolving, and teaching systems also gives you credentials.

In Tucson, Arizona, while working on legalizing site-built compost toilets state wide, our local efforts gained substantial credibility on three fronts:

1. We activists had all been daily using, and continuously improving the composting toilet systems we were advocating for. And we had direct experience with similar, though different, composting toilet strategies. Thus, we knew from experience the advantages and disadvantages of these various systems based on the contexts in which they were used.

2. Chuck Gerba, a microbiologist with the University of Arizona, volunteered his time to study the safety of the composting process and finished composted material from composting toilets in the pilot/research project.

 

3. Non-profit Watershed Management Group (WMG) got an Environmental Education grant focused on desert soil stewardship from EPA to fund the pilot/research project of the site-built compost toilets
EPA gave grant more legitimacy.

 

Ideally, you can find an ally or allies within the department(s) you are working with to make change. They know the system and can guide you through it.

Working on improving Arizona’s greywater harvesting laws, we worked with Chuck Graf before and after his retirement from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Chuck wrote the pioneering Arizona greywater harvesting law —inspired by research by Water Casa and others—that requires NO inspection, permit, or fee as long as practitioners follow the state’s common sense guidelines.
See Chapter 12 of
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2, 2nd Edition for how the pioneering greywater law was created.
Chuck has also been a great asset as David, myself, and WMG have worked to make dark greywater (kitchen sink drainwater) harvesting simpler, less expensive, and more effective in Arizona. See Appendix 3 in
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2, 2nd Edition for more on this.

 

When legalizing water-harvesting street curb cuts in the City of Tucson Brad Lancaster worked with ally Ann Audrey in the City’s sustainability office, along with Frank Souza who was the head of the City’s Stormwater Control department and a supporter of the effort.


Note that officials often seem to prefer working with a non-profit or volunteer group/effort that does not have a profit motive.

 

 

Do some of the officials’ homework for them.
Come up with draft or example language so officials don’t have to create the rule from scratch.
You can draw from other states if they’ve already set a precedent.

Research how do other states’/countries’ precedence apply to climate in which you are working.

Research – what are the local concerns/needs.

Example—with making greywater harvesting codes more accessible and effective in Arizona, a primary driver was that the old code was so expensive, cumbersome, and dysfunctional that almost no one applied for permits; yet well over 100,000 people were illegally harvesting greywater without any guidance from the state. The revised greywater law—informed by research on the illegal systems—fixed this, and enabled non-profits and other entities to promote inexpensive and effective greywater harvesting systems—helping the state give guidance to the people.

In the context of composting toilets, a need of the state is to protect groundwater from contamination.
Composting toilets can be a more effective protector of groundwater than septic tanks.

 

 

Show how proposed strategy can meet higher performance standards than currently approved systems.
Easy for greywater systems and compost toilets to do better than septic tanks, because there is virtually no blackwater (sewage containing human feces) water going into native soil, just lightly used sink, shower, or laundry drainwater; or in the case of compost toilet—urine.
With septic system ALL waters (including greywater) go to one place where they mix making it ALL blackwater.

Stewarded compost toilets at events easily outperform stinky chemical-based porta-johns.

 

 

 

Find allies
Look for those that express interest in the various departments you are working with. They can guide you in working with the system.

Sometimes this takes time. Jeffrey Adams was striving to legalize simpler, less expensive, and more effective greywater harvesting systems in Utah, and just happened to have his kid in the same play group as Orin Rogers of the Southeast Utah Health Department. As a result they found themselves hanging out together watching their kids and it was a great opportunity for Jeff to talk to Orin about how potentially legalizing new systems.
For more of the story see here.

You can also just set up meetings with folks in various departments to see how they respond and if they have ideas of others you should speak to.

In AZ, David Omick initially talked with Larry Hawke at the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality. Larry was more of a policy guy. Others in dept were engineers. Larry sent David to engineers. They felt what David was proposing was fine, then Larry felt OK moving things forward policy wise.

See “Present Yourself Well” principle above for more examples.

 

 


Strive for Performance-Based Codes versus Prescriptive Codes
In The Water-Wise Home (a great guide for grey- water harvesting and making policy change), author Laura Allen describes the difference between the two codes as follows,

“Performance-based codes describe health and safety requirements for greywater systems. Systems that meet the requirements are legal: those that don’t are not. Performance-based codes typically don’t require inspections or fees, yet provide legal grounds for a city to take action against a problem system.
For example, “no pooling or runoff” is a common guideline that prevents exposure to greywater, but many codes don’t specify how to meet this requirement. Performance-based codes are written in simple, straightforward language. States and local jurisdictions can provide further guidance, such as how to size a system to avoid pooling and runoff, but the more specific details are left out of the code.

Prescriptive codes specify exactly how to build a greywater system including what materials and parts can be used. Instead of stating, “No pooling or runoff allowed,” they may estimate greywater production based on number of bedrooms in the house (as a means of predicting how many people live in the home and send greywater down the drain) and size the irrigation area based on soil type.”

I typically prefer performance-based codes (such as the ADEQ greywater guidelines adopted in 2001) because I find them more conducive to innovations that continually evolve and improve the systems. Performance-based codes clearly state the performance standards the system must achieve, without limiting your options to one or two prescribed systems. While, prescriptive codes specifying technological standards, materials, and systems often inhibit innovation and lead to more complex—but often more expensive and not necessarily more effective—systems, as was the case in Arizona prior to 2001.

A system is only as good as the user’s engagement with it and awareness of it. So, make your systems simple; convenient to use; and easy to observe, under- stand, and maintain.

 

 

 

Keep your eyes on the prize

Prize is shifting policy – a significant change.
Does not need to be perfect from the get go.

You’ve established relationships in various departments and got the ball rolling even if you don’t get it all.
For example, in California plastic outlet shields (like an upside down planting pot) are currently required to cover greywater pipe outlets in mulched basins (with the intent of lessening human contact with the greywater).

This is unnecessary.
In neighboring Arizona these outlet shields are NOT required and all works fine. The shields consume more plastic, increase costs, and generate more waste.

But in the bigger picture, these plastic outlet shields are no big deal.

The bigger deal is tankless, gravity-fed greywater harvesting systems outletting to mulched and vegetated basins within the landscape have been legalized in California.  

Now that that has occurred, folks can work on further evolving and improving the code.

 

 

The new full-color edition of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 3rd Edition wins another book award

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 3rd Edition wins the Silver Medal in the 2021 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards

 

Purchase the book at deep discount direct from the author here.

Additional awards the book has won include:

• Best Indie Books of the Year pick by Kirkus Reviews
• Southwest Book of the Year pick by the Pima County Public Library
• Finalist Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year
• Silver Award, Nautilus Book Awards
• Bronze Medal, Living Now Book Awards
• Finalist, Eric Hoffer Book Award
• Best Book Award by USA Book News National Book Awards
• Distinguished Favorite Home & Garden Book, NYC Big Book Awards
• Best Home & Garden Book, Independent Press Awards

The Rains Are Coming—Are Your Street-side Basin Inlets Ready or Clogged?

By Brad Lancaster

www.HarvestingRainwater.com

Like much of the country, we are in a record drought with record heat that is drying us out even more; stressing many shade plants, and threatening our cooling soil-carbon sponges—so we should be doing all we can to capture and hold on to cooling, life-enhancing moisture.

But even as the summer rains have begun in my home of Tucson, Arizona; many people who have installed passive street-runoff harvesting earthworks are NOT ready to receive that free water because their basin inlets are clogged!

Are YOU ready or clogged?

BAD. Note how the street-side tree basin’s stormwater inlet—a curb core in the street curb—is clogged with debris as is the street gutter. Fix this!
Photo: Brad Lancaster

 

GOOD. Note how the street-side tree basin’s stormwater inlet—a curb core in the street curb—has now been cleared of debris, along with the street gutter. This was easily done with a shovel.
Photo: Brad Lancaster

 

GOOD, but note what was previously BAD on the basin-side of the street curb inlet. The concrete curb is stained darker from the dirt that was removed to prepare the basin to receive the coming rains—there is now at least a 2-inch (50-mm) drop from the bottom of the street-curb core hole (or in another case could be a curb cut) to the top of the soil (or mulch) in the basin. This way, the flow of the in-coming water will speed up, NOT slow down. So, sediment carried by the in-coming water will flow through, instead of settling out and clogging the inlet.
Photo: Brad Lancaster

A well-built and planted street-side basin with cleared inlet and street gutter efficiently harvesting copious amounts of runoff.
Photo: Brad Lancaster

More important points:

  • Water flows downhill, so make sure the elevation of the entire bottom of your street-side basin (and the surface of any mulch within it) is well-below the street gutter and inlet elevation. The deeper the basin the more water you can collect.
  • See here for important elevation and slope relationships within street-side basins, and tips on how you can expand their capacity.
  • Observe your street-side basin inlets during and after rains, and throughout the rainy season. Clean as necessary.

Curb core partially clogged by asphalt after a repaving project.
Photo: Brad Lancaster

 

Clog now cleared. The City did not unclog the street-side water-harvesting basin inlets after multiple requests, so citizen activists fixed the problem by chipping away at the asphalt clogs with caliche digging bars (pointed steel digging bars). The chipped out asphalt pieces were then placed and compressed on the downstream side (right hand side in this case) of the curb core to encourage more flow through the core hole to the basin.
Photo: Brad Lancaster

 

For more info
Check out the newly revised, award-winning, full-color books Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond available at deep discount direct from the author at https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/shop/

The Abundance Growing from the Water-, Soil-, and Fertility-Harvesting of Bouwas Mawara in Zimbabwe

by Brad Lancaster

www.HarvestingRainwater.com

In 2014 and 2016 I had the honor of being able to travel to Zimbabwe to learn from indigenous water harvesters and the amazing people with Muonde Trust, and to also share some of what I have learned over the past decades.

It was a wonderful cross-pollination of ideas and inspiration.

One of the many farmers who stood out was Bouwas Mawara who has planted rain to great effect in dry Mazvihwa, Zimbabwe (average annual rainfall 17 inches (450 mm). In 1980, after Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, Mr. Mawara transformed 1 in 200-sloped water-draining diversion drains on his farm (which had been required by the Rhodesian government) into water-harvesting contour berm ‘n basins about 3 to 10 feet (1 to 3 meters) deep and 6.5 feet (2 meters) wide.

Bouwas Mawara washes his hands in the rainwater harvested in the basin of one of his contour berm n’ basins. He raises fish here, which he caught in a local river and brought back to his farm.
Photo: Brad Lancaster

The berm ‘n basins were then planted with soil-building fruit trees and perennial grasses for livestock fodder, erosion control, and roof thatching. Between the berm ‘n basins, he plants his annual crops on contour; and he has diversified his plantings to include many hardy heirloom crops such as finger millet, which is much more drought tolerant than other grains grown in the area.

Touring Mr. Mawara’s contour fields with local farmers and others from the Muonde Trust. Note the dense perennial vegetation on the contour berm ‘n basins to either side of the field.
Photo: Brad Lancaster

Mr. Mawara catches fertilizer in the form of harvested nutrient-rich rain, runoff, and the organic matter it carries. And he grows fertilizer in the form of nitrogen-fixing legumes; manure from his livestock, fish, and wildlife; compost; and the life in his organically-farmed, moist soils. He feeds his soil not the crop, or as he says, “I feed the pregnant mother to feed the child.”

Watch a clip of an interview I did with Mr Mawara in 2016 below:

As a result of Bouwas Mawara’s water- and fertility-harvesting efforts, he is able to dry farm (farm solely with water from the rain) winter crops every dry season, including dry years when non-water harvesters get no crop. He also raises fish in water caught in his contour berm ‘n basins (he originally caught fish in a local river to stock his basins). And he even had excess water in the severe droughts of 1992 and 2008.

Rainwater-filled contour basin freely irrigates perennial grasses, and annual crops in adjoining fields; while creating habitat to raise fish.
Photo: Brad Lancaster

To share such innovations and benefits among area farmers Mr. Mawara set up the Hupenyu Ivhu (Soil is Life) Farmer Innovators’ group in 1989, and in 2014 his work was recognized with the Phiri Award for Farm and Food Innovators.

The top of Bouwas Mawara’s farm’s watershed. Pre-colonial era, all the land in this area was as densely forested as the land on the hill atop the farm’s watershed. What’s left of the forest now stands as inspiration and information for how to reforest and regenerate the land. From right to left, Adnomore Chirindira of Muonde Trust, Warren Brush, and Thomas Cole.
Photo: Brad Lancaster

It seems there is a great deal of healing and relearning evolving (and the need for still more) post-colonial rule. I was able to listen to an amazing discussion among elders, area farmers, and the local chief where the elders described how no one went hungry or thirsty before the area forests were cleared for colonial-era fields and farms. When forests were intact, there was no erosion, wild foods and wildlife were abundant, and springs and creeks flowed year-round. That abundance declined more and more, as more and more forest was cleared; and more stormwater, soil, and fertility flowed away. As a response, the Rhodesian government mandated the construction of diversion drains to reduce the erosion resulting from the clearing of the forest, which the government was also mandating. But when Bouwas and other farmers tried to preserve, and later replant, trees within their fields; they were fined and punished by the colonial rulers and their laws. No trees were allowed in the fields of annual crops. But some, like Bouwas, persisted. And when Zimbabwe gained its independence, Bouwas stepped up his reforesting efforts. Though as Mr. Mawara readily admits he could still do far more.

Hindering many are the residual scars of past punishment and social scorn that practitioners of diverse agroforestry and hunter gathering experienced. Unfortunately, the culture and erosive practice of clearing land to farm persists in many areas. Striving to see the potential of what already exists pre- “development”, and trying to learn from and collaborate with the high value of established, indigenous life is today the exception, rather than the norm. This is why I think examples such as the remaining forests, and the evolving farms and agroforestry of Mr. Mawara and others—such as one his mentors Mr. Phiri—are so important. They show us a different, thriving way that is more collaborative with the natural systems sustaining and regenerating life; and they can inspire us to go further. For as Mr. Phiri would often say, “I don’t want you to do what I do, I want you to do better than me.”

 

See the full-color editions of the books Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond for more.

 

This trip, others by colleagues, and what was learned from these and other indigenous farmers, also helped inform the creation of the following resource:

https://www.fsnnetwork.org/resilience-design-smallholder-farming-systems-approach

 

And please consider donating to the Muonde Trust that does wonderful work promoting and supporting indigenous water harvesting and more.

Rainwater Spiritual Song Now Available for Listening, Purchase, and Download

Rainwater Spiritual is a sweet rain of a water-harvesting song written and performed by Gabrielle Pietrangelo

(though I had the honor of giving a minor assist with a couple of the lyrics).

Check it out – I think you’ll love it!

You can listen to it, read the lyrics, and purchase and download it on Gabrielle’s bandcamp page here

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2, 2nd Edition now available in E-BOOK format

I just released the new, full-color, 2nd edition of Volume 2 in eBook format.

This makes the book far more affordable for those outside the U.S., since there are no insanely costly international shipping costs.

This is also great for those who travel near and far, as it won’t take any additional physical space if uploaded to your phone, tablet, e-reader, and/or computer. I love having this book uploaded to my phone. Thus all of its incredible information and imagery is always in my pocket and right at my fingertips. And I can pull it out and get a concept across to a client, contractor, co-worker, or student at any time with one of the book’s illustrations, select the appropriate strategies for the unique site I’m working on, reference a greywater plumbing schematic, and assess an earthwork’s harvesting capacity with the handy calculations.

 

Bonuses in this eBook edition:
Since the eBook does not have the page limitations and paper costs of a print book, this eBook edition includes the following, which is not in the print edition:

• Full, live-linked, List of Illustrations
• Expanded calculations appendix
• Additional, revised images
• The ability to search any term, concept, or strategy in the book – far more comprehensive than a printed index

Additionally, I put a lot more time and money into the production of this eBook than most do, in order to make for a more pleasant reading experience for you. The main thing I did was relocate the images in the eBook so they appear at the end of the paragraph where they are first referenced. So the reference to an image within the text, and the image, are far more likely to appear on the same “page” of your screen.

In many eBooks where the publisher does not take as much care as I have, you need to do a lot more jumping back and forth between text and linked images (which are very often on different “pages” of the book than the text you are reading). This happens when the same layout of a print book is used for the layout of an eBook. But print books are meant to be read with two pages facing one another (where an image may be referenced in the text on one page, while appearing on the next facing page), while eBooks (read on mobile phones and tablets) are scrolled as you typically view a single “page” at a time.

So I customized the layout of my eBook for a smoother reading experience on any device — phone, tablet, or computer. I hope you enjoy the result.

 

To purchase and/or read the eBook edition

Please follow the links below for purchase of the eBook.
(You can also request that your local library carry both the print and eBook editions).

Note that the eBook looks great on all the eBook platforms, but I personally find it looks best on the Apple ibooks format, thus I’ve listed that link first.

Via Apple ibooks

Via Google Play

Via Amazon Kindle

 


For the eBook edition of Volume 1

See here

 

Please consider reviewing the book(s)
For those of you who read and enjoyed the eBook(s) – please consider writing a review where you got it (Apple Books, Amazon, Google Play, etc.). Reviews help a lot in getting more awareness of, and interest in the books. And as I’m the publisher as well as the author, I really depend on you the readers to help me spread the word on the book and the practices they enable.

Thanks!

Good & Bad Plants for Goats in the Southwest U.S. & Northern Mexico

by Brad Lancaster
www.HarvestingRainwater.com

Reading with the goats.
Photo credit: Brad Lancaster

Why buy all food or materials for shade structures for your goats or other livestock when you can grow many of these resources and more?

Plants native to your area and your site’s microclimates are the best since they are best adapted to your local conditions, and won’t need supplemental irrigation once established. Passively harvest rainwater and/or greywater for them and they won’t just survive – they will thrive!

The goats will let you know what they like and don’t like when you observe them browsing in the wild. But you must be more cautious in confined spaces, like a pen or fenced pasture, where the goats could over eat toxic plants if non-toxic fodder gets low.

Check out this list of
Good & Bad Plants for Goats
for guidance.

 

We supplement our city goats’ feed with what they browse on neighborhood walks (making sure they don’t over browse any desired plants, so we maintain optimal health of the neighborhood forests).

Check out our community forestry efforts that grow and steward fodder for people, livestock (including bees), and wildlife at www.DunbarSpringNeighborhoodForesters.org.

Walking the goats.
Check out www.DunbarSpringNeighborhoodForesters.org for our community efforts growing and stewarding fodder for people, livestock, and wildlife in the public rights-of-ways.
Photo credit: Brad Lancaster

 

We often prune the vegetation alongside public pathways in our neighborhood to maintain a required minimum clear access of 7-foot height and 5-foot width. This encourages more folks to walk, bicycle, and wheel along the forest paths — which improves health and reduces crime as there are more friendly eyes on the forest and street.

In the past we cut up those pathway prunings and used them as fertility-building, water-conserving mulch within water-harvesting basins within the neighborhood forests. Now, we also bring some of the prunings of plants good for goats to our goat pen, where goats Lyric and Luke happily munch away, then transform those prunings into fertile goat droppings we compost and redisperse in the neighborhoods’ food forests – all of which collaborates with, and contributes to, the soil-carbon sponge.

Additionally, we have surrounded the goat pen in our yard with native, edible plantings that grow to shelter and feed the goats, while protecting the trunks and main branches of the plants from constant nibbling.

Passively-harvested water is the primary irrigation source of all the plantings.
For more on that see the full-color editions of my books Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, available at deep discount direct from me the author at https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/shop/

 

Local source of organically-grown hay
For those in the Tucson, Arizona area, a great source of organically-grown hay is the San Xavier Farm Cooperative

New Full-Color Editions of “Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond” Win More Book Awards

The new full-color, revised editions of Brad Lancaster’s books Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volumes 1 and 2 are NYC Big Book Award winners.

Volume 1, 3rd Edition won the Distinguished Favorites Award in the Home & Garden book category
https://www.nycbigbookaward.com/2020distinguishedfavorites

Volume 2, 2nd Edition won the New York City Big Book Award in the Green book category.
https://www.nycbigbookaward.com/2020winners

Get your signed copies today direct from me, the author, at deep discount at:
https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/shop/

Wear Your Passion: water-harvesting and Plant the Rain wearables

Fellow water harvesters and planters of the rain, show your colors!

Rainwater Harvesting t-shirts
—all unisex sizes

Plant the Rain caps—one size fits most

And now…
Rainwater Harvesting shirts—kid-size only

All made of 100% organic cotton,
and all available here

Drops in a Bucket Blog

 »Read all blog posts...

Sign up for the Newsletter



Upcoming Events

  1. 2021 Rocky Mountain Natural Building Conference

    October 14 - October 16
  2. Water Harvesting Design Certification: Fall 2021

    November 8 - November 20
  3. Water Harvesting Design Certification: Spring 2020

    February 28, 2022 - March 12, 2022


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 […]

 »Read all newsletters...

Like what this website offers?

Donations are greatly appreciated as they enable us to continuously update this expansive resource and generate new content. Thanks!