Harvesting +30,000 gallons of roof runoff in tree basins for FREE
See how we harvest over 30,000 gallons (114,000 liters) of roof runoff in tree basins to passively shade and cool the building from which we harvest the water.
This system was created in 1996 by two people in two hours, only using hand shovels. We did the work in the rain, because that is the funnest time and you get instant feedback from the water flow. No materials were purchased, imported, or exported—we just used what was freely available on site.
Every year we maintain the system by building up the berms, digging the basins deeper (to get the dirt for the berms), or filling in any blow outs in the berm. We do this during or just after a rain when its nice and cool and the soil is soft and workable.
The planting of rain and trees was done in the public right-of-way between the auto parts store/warehouse and the street after we got the permission from the auto parts store manager.
Note that we could have also planted multi-use native understory plants at the same time we planted the trees. That is what we now do in all new installations.
Video filmed in July 2023 in Tucson, Arizona, USA.
Get more info on how to do this and harvest many other free, on-site waters at:
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For more on such neighborhood efforts see
For self-guided tours (virtual or in-person) of other Tucson water-harvesting sites see
For a video on some of our street runoff harvesting see