Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond by Brad Lancaster

Testimonials – Volume 2

Praise for

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2

“Humanity has both consciously and unconsciously denuded the earth’s living sponge for millennia, but this needn’t be so. This sponge of vegetation, organic matter, and symbiotic soil life is a foundation of life that is key to the health of our planet’s hydrological cycle and climate. It makes our climate livable while buffering extremes, including drought and flooding. The living sponge is the very foundation of any regenerative landscape’s ability to produce abundant food, fuel, fodder, and fertility, while serving vital functions in stabilizing our sustaining ecologies. This seminal book combines inspired storytelling with excellent illustrations and photographs to present essential design principles and strategies for recreating a vibrant living sponge by planting the rain. I will continue to use and HIGHLY RECOMMEND Brad Lancaster’s books in my work with USAID and NGO’s in training for resilience in programs that support millions of climate-vulnerable people around the globe.”
— Warren Brush, Resilience Design Consultant
 

“This volume supports a needed paradigm shift back to respecting nature’s power and primacy when building and living in desert cities. The comprehensive, readable principles laid out here are both scientifically accurate and informed by practical experience. The book highlights rainwater harvesting as the essential first step in building resilient, livable cities—generating a self-perpetuating cascade of benefits to individuals, communities and ecosystems. Chief among the beneficiaries are urban trees and landscapes that are nourished, supported, and ultimately restored to their rightful place as the foundation of healthy, balanced urban ecosystems. Harvesting Rainwater for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2, builds on premises grounded in eons of evolution and adaptation, empowering and inspiring us to use low-cost, natural solutions to solve some of the most pressing needs of dryland cities.”
— Tanya Quist, Director, University of Arizona Campus Arboretum and Associate Professor, School of Plant Sciences
 

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2, 2nd Edition is an amazing resource for humanity to begin to understand, to reconnect, and to honor the teaching that water truly is life. My people, the Hopi look to the Earthmother for food and nourishment, for it was from the womb of the Earthmother that the Hopi and all living creatures emerged in the beginning. The animals, plants, insects, and people are all kept alive through the power of the flow of Nature. The interaction between all living things – the relation of rocks to the land, the flow of water, the dance of yellow butterflies in the cornfields – all this marks the balance of Nature. When I look across my homelands I see that my ancestors were building rainwater-fed terraces, they were placing sandstone rocks across washes to check erosion and encourage perennial growth, and most importantly they were planting rain for my generation to thrive. When we utilize the strategies and principles contained in Brad Lancaster’s book to harvest rainwater to nourish the earth, healing is inevitable. I have utilized this book as a tool to teach myself and others in my community. I highly recommend this book to those working hard to be good living ancestors and to those who truly care about the next generations.”
— Lilian Hill, Executive Director, Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture
 

“This new edition of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2, is full of practical, easy-to-understand guidance that can help make our ecosystems and communities healthier and more enjoyable places to live. It doesn’t matter where you live in this world or whether you own a small city lot, a farm or a ranch, there is plenty in this book for you. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you don’t own land at all, since so much can be done on public land. If you’re like me, you’ll find it hard to get through a chapter without wanting to grab your tools, head outside and start planting the rain!”
— James A. Allen, Professor and Executive Director, School of Forestry, Northern Arizona University
 

“As a career forester and convert to agroforestry, I speak often about the value of trees and how they can be integrated with crops and/or livestock in our landscapes. Brad’s new edition of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2, is about so much more than rainwater! It is a PRACTICAL guide to restoring the function and benefits of landscapes that have been altered over time. The photos, illustrations, and case studies are priceless. Brad certainly convinces me (and he will convince you too) that following his recommendations will add up to much more than a drop in the bucket!”
— Andy Mason, Director, USDA National Agroforestry Center (retired)
 

“This volume should be on the bookshelf of every conscientious homeowner in the desert Southwest. Rainfall truly becomes something to celebrate when we can use it to fill up the soil banks in our property instead of watching it rush down the street into a storm sewer.”
— Nancy R. Laney, Executive Director, Tucson Botanical Gardens
 

“The cheapest and sanest way to meet our growing need for water is to squeeze more out of the water we already have, especially rainwater and used household water. Lancaster approaches these unsung streams as a farmer might, cultivating them in order to nourish dry landscapes. He has produced a water-farming guide that will inspire both the casual gardener and the card-carrying permaculturalist. With step-by-step instructions and clear illustrations, he guides the reader through simple techniques -berms, curbcuts, greywater plumbing – which in turn guide water into your soil and landscape. Lancaster is clearly determined to save the world. And he’s determined to make it easy for the rest of us to help.”
— Hannah Holmes author of Suburban Safari: A Year on the Lawn
 

“Brad’s book is a treasure. It brings much-needed clarity to a timely subject and what’s more it inspires, motivates, and lifts the spirit. It’s a resource that no steward of the land should ignore.”
— Owen Dell, landscape architect and contractor, author and educator, Santa Barbara, California
 

“The level of detail that Brad provides is unmatched in the water-harvesting industry. This is one of the seminal books of our time.”
— Nate Downey, author of Harvest the Rain and Rooftop Water Harvesting in New Mexico
 

“Water has been identified as a global crisis in the making and Arizona is fast becoming ground zero for this issue in the US. Fortunately people like Brad Lancaster are working to change our illogical, wasteful approach to water use. Brad is one of those outstanding teachers who communicate passion and excitement while bringing an amazing wealth of knowledge to water conservation. This second encyclopedic volume is a distillation of his many years of study, experience and experimentation and gathers together in one volume a vast number of resources. The information is thorough, well documented, clearly explained, and eminently useful. Every civil engineer, landscape architect, planner, and architect should read this book and implement its strategies. If they did, our coming water crisis could be averted and our cities could become far more productive and pleasant places to live.”
— Antony Brown, Director, Ecosa Institute
 

“This is a fascinating book, full of real life examples and lots of inspiring ideas for a variety of sites and soil types. Anyone who wants to live and garden more sustainably will enjoy it.”
— Elizabeth Davison, Director, University of Arizona Campus Arboretum, Lecturer, Division of Horticultural/Crop Sciences, University of Arizona
 

“The prescription for water sustainability Brad has painstakingly drawn up in this very informative book is based on real life successes, has a very wide application even across the seas and is simple and reliable. What touches us most are his friendly narration and the ‘tell-tale’ illustrations that have an eye for detail.”
— Shree Padre, Messenger of Rainwater Harvesting, India
 

“Brad is an earth and water sculptor. Practical, easy to follow, well researched and logical, Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2 is destined to be one of my more dog-eared resource books. It’s probably going to get a little muddy too!”
— Cado Daily, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Water Wise Program
 

“The book is a wonder of practical and progressive strategies for anyone interested in preserving our precious surface-water resources and putting them to good use. Brad Lancaster has outlined how to use earthworks to capture rainwater and to use it to foster productive plant life. Volume 2 of this three-volume work builds on the conceptual framework of volume 1 and introduces easy-to-understand definitions, diagrams, and photographs to implement these water-harvesting ideas.”
— Corky Poster, Architect and Planner, Director, Drachman Institute, Distinguished Professor of Outreach, University of Arizona, College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
 

“As a permaculture teacher and designer, Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond is my ‘go to’ source for how to design a sustainable water system.”
— Dan Dorsey, Sonoran Permaculture Guild
 

“Those who apply the lessons Brad Lancaster describes so clearly in this one-of-a-kind book can dramatically lower their consumption of water from conventional sources, yet live in a virtual oasis, even in the driest climates! Buy a copy today and put it to good use.”
— Dan Chiras, author of The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy, The Solar House, The New Ecological Home, The Natural Plaster Book and many more
 

“After guiding us to see the world of water harvesting as he does in volume 1, Brad Lancaster now gives us the details on how to shape our landscape to capture as much water as possible in volume 2. Volume 1 provided us with the principles for water harvesting and volume 2 gives us the blueprints, methods, and tools for applying those principles to our own or neighborhood landscape. Details abound. While others say the devil is in the details, Brad shows us that success is in the details—along with doing it yourself. When I first became interested in water harvesting, it was sufficient for me to be satisfied with understanding water harvesting as the process of applying hydrology to small watersheds. But, the students have shown me that that is not enough! You must do it to really understand it. Volume 2 gives us the details for catching the water on our land and putting it to use, thereby reducing consumption of utility-provided water, and if we can get whole neighborhoods to follow also reducing the magnitude of street flooding. You need to understand and apply the 8 Principles of Water Harvesting given in Volume 1 in analyzing your site. Once you know what you want to do, you can select the appropriate practices and then with volume 2 you can do it. I don’t think you’ll find yourself reading volume 2 cover to cover as you need to do with volume 1, but volume 2 is a practical engineering guide where you can look up the details you need for a given project.”
— James J. Riley, Ph.D., Soil, Water and the Environmental Science Department, University of Arizona
 

“Brad has outdone himself with this volume. I think it will be an even more valuable reference and resource for the thoughtful public than the first volume. Thank you Brad for making the effort to do justice to that most precious of water sources—our rainfall.”
— Val Little, Director, Water Conservation Alliance of Southern Arizona
 

“Whether you have years of experience or are just beginning to explore a greener way of living; whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer, an educator, a client, or a consultant/designer of regenerative systems, this book (and these 3 volumes) is for you. You will love the ease of reading, clarity, and beauty of illustrations. And it will get you off your buns and out into the land you love.”
— Barbara Rose, Bean Tree Farm, Education, Integrated Design, Consulting, and Local/Native Foods and Herbs, Tucson, Arizona
 

“Many of us have been involved with rainwater harvesting from roofs using gutters and cisterns for years, but not until I read Brad Lancaster’s Volume 2 did I realize that we have been missing MOST of the rainwater harvesting opportunities! This incredibly important book provides the tools for ANYONE to collect and direct rainwater using simple, natural, affordable, aesthetically pleasing strategies based on appropriately sculpting the earth.”
— Gayle Borst, Architect and Executive Director of Design-Build-Live, Austin, Texas
 

“The information presented in Volume II is crucial for healing our relationship with the planet. The book’s accessible style and format makes it an important reference guide for anyone who works on the land. Amidst instruction on the fine art of digging ditches and  the subtle science of placing rocks and sticks, Brad weaves in essential wisdom about relationship with our resources and invites us all to become stewards of the Earth.”
— Amanda Bramble, Director of Ampersand Project, Madrid, New Mexico
 

“We own 7.5 acres in the hill country west of San Marcos and I am building all sorts of structures to catch and keep the rainwater. We get lots of rain (37” [annual average]) but evaporation is always greater than rainfall so I have to work to get—and keep—it in the soil. I refer back to Brad’s book (volume 2) often. I have built a bunch of rock berms where we have high water volume, soil berms where we are planting, swales filled with wood chips in front of soil berms, log berms in the woods, etc. My work has been tested, as we have gotten 12” in 24 hours and we can regularly get 2–4” in under 2 hours. Most of the work has held and where it hasn’t, I observe the movement of the water and adjust accordingly. Brad’s book has been an invaluable resource—it is my rain-harvesting bible. In fact, we bought our land *because* of Brad’s book—because we could harvest all of the run-on water. Before his book I would have bypassed the property for fear of run-on flooding. Now I see the run-on as a valuable resource to be captured and utilized.”
— Jim Van Overschelde, San Marcos, TX
 

“Brad Lancaster’s Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2, 2nd Edition, is a must-have for anyone serious about working in international agricultural development or humanitarian work. Packed with technical guidance, the book’s principles and essential guidelines for water-harvesting earthworks are a blueprint for solving many seemingly intractable food-security problems. With the majority of the world’s population reliant on rain-fed agriculture, it’s critical we begin to design and grow more resilient systems to feed our people and regenerate the earth’s resources. As someone working along with others to directly help refugees and other displaced populations grow more of their own food—often in dryland situations—this book gives us the tools to create lasting change. I carry it in my travel bag wherever I go.”
— Thomas Cole, Resilience Design and Agroecology Consultant
 


“Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond
 is an enormous gift. There is nothing quite like this comprehensive, well-illustrated book to learn how to capture rain and other free on-site waters. It’s a must-have for every householder, policy maker and professional interested in making their homes, communities, and world more sustainable and self-sufficient. The illustrations are incredible, detailing every step and possibility. Brad’s many years of experience testing different processes shine through. This book demystifies many practical strategies and reconnects readers to their waters and land. Congratulations to Brad on an invaluable book that benefits people of all ages in all locations.”
— Betsy Damon, Founder of Keepers of the Waters
 

“The book you have in your hands is an exhaustive investigation of the best strategies and design techniques to harvest and manage water from its primary source: rain. This is the right book at the right time for a world where water security is one of the most important socio-ecosystemic challenges humanity faces.

“With a remarkable level of detail and extensive analysis, Brad Lancaster creates a vibrant and viable vision of water harvesting that is accessible to all people. This revised second edition constitutes a conceptual and practical guide for developing low-tech, highly effective strategies and technologies in both rural and urban environments. Step by step, it builds our capacity and understanding, enabling us to transform our built environments and uplift our relationships with water itself. With this perspective, we can leave behind our disfunctional water-consumptive habits and instead vibrantly plant, cycle, and harvest water for the rejuvenation of all life in the place where we live.”
— Delfín Montañana, Urban Biologist, Bio·Logica·Urbana consultancy; Director, Socioecological Education, Isla Urbana
 

“From principles to project design ideas, this book details how to plant water and grow abundance. The humor and illustrations make for a fun read! Students will certainly use this book as a text. Legislators, planners and policy makers will use it as a guide for developing green infrastructure approaches. As mayor of a city in the desert southwest, this book is a critical resource to me for implementing strategies that support ecological restoration and community resiliency.”
— Emily S. Niehaus, founder of Community Rebuilds and Mayor of Moab City, Utah
 

“Anyone who wants to make the most of our precious rainfall will want to read Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2, 2nd Edition. The numerous color photographs and illustrations will draw you into Brad’s book, and when you’re captivated and ready to start a project, the easy-to-understand text will provide all the information you need. Brad’s engaging style of writing makes it seem as if he’s in your back yard, explaining how to create an infiltration basin or the best way to place organic mulch. The Real-Life Examples included in each chapter are great ways to show how the book’s principles are being applied, reinforcing the idea that anyone, at any scale of project, can harvest the rain.”
— Judy Mielke, landscape architect and author of Native Plants for Southwestern Landscapes
 

“It sounds so simple and obvious: catching the rain to provide water. It makes ecological sense, but it is also a political act—of self-sufficiency. Brad Lancaster’s manual and manifesto is both hugely practical and genuinely inspirational, because water harvesting is a life-changer, especially in arid lands. From Rajasthan to Arizona, Brad learns and teaches, showing how it can be done and why it should be done.”
— Fred Pearce, journalist and author of When The Rivers Run Dry
 

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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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