372: Brook Sarson on Water Harvesting.

Building simple, cost-effective solutions for conserving water resources.

Brook is co-owner and CEO of CatchingH2O and H2OME. She started H2OME in 2008 with the mission to be a resource to the San Diego Community for water harvesting. She was determined to create change from the ground up by showing homeowners, educators, and policy makers how simple and effective rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling can be.  Her continued mantra has been that individual contributions create tremendous impact toward a larger water conservation strategy.

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Since H2OME’s inception Brook has directly installed or facilitated hundreds of thousands of gallons of water conservation between rainwater tanks, greywater systems, and landscape design changes.  Her engineering background perfectly complements the permaculture design framework she uses to approach design problems. 

In This Podcast:

When looking into how water was being cycled in her community, and then looking at other desert like cities in other states and countries, Brook Sarson was intrigued. California was in a drought and she realized there was a lot of potential ideas and processes implemented elsewhere that could help her community. Brook shares what she discovered about the ‘ethics of place’ and the significance that small changes in a community can have on a whole watershed.

Listen in and learn about:

  • Going back into the workforce after taking time off for her young kids
  • Researching water in the west and learning about water harvesting ethics
  • Comparing ethics of Tucson and San Diego
  • Having an accepted reality of rain water tanks in front yards
  • Grant funded projects – one to restore trout with twenty laundry-to-landscape installations,
  • and a project with 50 homes in low income neighborhood install of rainwater, greywater, natives and edibles to help restore the watershed
  • The cooperative work that helped make this happen
  • San Diego’s promotion and support of greywater systems
  • Making the greywater discussion relevant by showing how to save money on infrastructure
  • What makes her company unique
  • The dichotomy in the reporting of the drought conditions
  • The satisfaction she feels seeing the systems come together
  • Why this change is not easy to make standard
  • Soap for grey-water systems
  • Benefits of grey-water systems on landscaping

As well as:

  • Her failure – Failing to have a business level relationship with her clients, projecting legitimacy
  • Her success – The project of 50 homes in the Cholla’s Creek watershed and knowing the water savings effect; and partnering with her business partner
  • Her drive – Growing up knowing that something like chickens were ‘normal’ and focusing on the kids who have a chance to know that water harvesting will be ‘normal’
  • Her advice – Don’t get caught up with buying something “green” and buy a 55-gallon drum! There is something much more effective.  And every little bit helps.

Brook’s Book Recommendations:

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition: Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life and Landscape by Brad Lancaster (guest)

The New Create an Oasis with Greywater 6th Ed: Integrated Design for Water Conservation, Reuse, Rainwater Harvesting, and Sustainable Landscaping by Art Ludwig

The Water-Wise Home: How to Conserve, Capture, and Reuse Water in Your Home and Landscape by Laura Allen (guest)

How to reach Brook:          

Website: www.h2o-me.com and catchingh2o.com

Phone: (619) 964-4838

Note: You can also find these books at one of our favorite independent bookstores for just a little bit more and know that you are supporting a small business.




This episode was sponsored by The 2018 Garden Hack Summit.

Learn more while supporting our Podcast.


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