110: Brad Lancaster on Rainwater Harvesting

Planting Edible Trees and Crops & Water Harvesting in the Desert.

514: Brad Lancaster about Harvesting the Rain.Brad Lancaster is the author of the award-winning Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond and co-founder of DesertHarvesters.org.  Since 1993 Brad has run a successful permaculture education, design, and consultation business focused on integrated regenerative approaches to landscape design, planning, and living. In the Sonoran Desert, with just 11 inches of annual rainfall, he and his brother harvest about 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year on an eighth-acre urban lot and adjoining right-of-way. This harvested water is then turned into living air conditioners of food-bearing shade trees, abundant gardens, and a thriving landscape incorporating wildlife habitat, beauty, medicinal plants, and more.
The goal of his book series and overall work is to empower his clients and community to make positive change in their own lives and neighborhoods—by harvesting and enhancing free on-site resources such as water, sun, wind, shade, community, and more. It’s catching on, as evidenced by tens of thousands of practitioners and demand for Brad’s work around the world.


Listen in and Learn about:

  • How growing up and playing in the desert impacted his early concept of the desert
  • Learning from indigenous friends how to use what is all around him in the desert
  • How the initial infrastructure in the desert was water wasteful
  • How permaculture and indigenous culture in dry or wet lands harvest water
  • How he got addicted to water re-use improvements
  • Some information about the hydrologic cycle and how we are impacting that cycle
  • His definition of resilience and beneficial redundancy
  • How we can look at our lifestyles and how to plan some resilience into it
  • His unique laundry to landscape system and how it is being replicated in the neighborhood
  • His goal to have no directly imported water on his landscape
  • The difference between modifying our climate to suit our crops vs. modifying the crops to meet the climate
  • How he tripled or even quadrupled rainfall on his plants
  • Helping trees along the streets with street-side water basins
  • Revitalizing the desert ecosystems in the neighborhood through wise water harvesting
  • Revitalizing the water table during a drought, while avoiding flooding during heavy rains
  • The creation and purpose of Desert Harvesters
  • And a lot more

As well as:

  • His biggest success
  • What drives him, and
  • His one piece of advice for podcast listeners

Books He mentions:

The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater

Books He Wrote:

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition:
Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life and Landscape

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond (Vol. 2):
Water-Harvesting Earthworks

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands (Vol. 1): Guiding Principles to
Welcome Rain into Your Life And Landscape

How to reach Brad:

Website: HarvestingRainwater.com and DesertHarvesters.org

Facebook: @DesertHarvesters


Note: You can also find these books mentioned above at one of our favorite local independent bookstores and have the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting a small business.

Some of the links in our podcast show notes and blog posts are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase, we will earn a nominal commission at no cost to you. We offer links to items recommended by our podcast guests and guest writers as a service to our audience and these items are not selected because of the commission we receive from your purchases. We know the decision is yours, and whether you decide to buy something is completely up to you. 

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