It’s hot! But the rains are coming…..
and with the rain comes the potential for helping your landscape recover faster using passive rainwater harvesting techniques!
Passive rainwater harvesting is exactly how it sounds – passive. No tanks to maintain or gutters and drains to clean. A well designed and implemented passive rainwater harvesting system will mimic a naturally occurring water cycle system, more or less maintaining itself, while your garden or yard flourishes.
Conventional practices in landscape management over the last several decades have encouraged, and even standardized, the movement of rainwater off the property as fast as possible. Using drains and piping, stormwater is directed out into the street, where it flows into local municipal systems and washes, sometimes overwhelming those systems and bringing a host of pollutants along with it in the process. Here in the desert, where water is such a precious resource, our goal should be to do exactly the opposite: slow down that stormwater! Keep as much of it as possible on your property, spreading and directing the water to those areas which will benefit the most. Using simple earthwork techniques such as berms and swales, basins and terraces, you can maximize the use of this temporal resource while adding visual dimensionality and texture to your landscape.
Incorporating passive rainwater harvesting into your landscape design brings a host of benefits, not the least of which is happier, healthier landscape plants. Installing some simple earthworks can also improve the health of your soil, prevent erosion, and dramatically lower your irrigation water usage (and in turn, your water bill!) In some cases, if your home is a candidate for meeting LEED Green Building requirements, passive water harvesting could even raise your property value.
For more information about passive water harvesting and how it can be incorporated into your own outdoor landscape, explore some of the links here:
University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Passive Water Harvesting
Watershed Management Group
Brad Lancaster – Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond
The City of Tucson and Tucson Water also offers a rebate program for water customers who install a rainwater harvesting system into their landscapes, whether passive or active. Find out more about this program here:
Tucson Water Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Program