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Rainwater Harvesting

It seems to be common sense to me, in this land we call the desert, to capture and store as much rainwater as possible. Yet it is apparent that most home sites have been designed to do the exact opposite. I get very annoyed every time it rains. I cannot help to notice all that fresh clean rainwater flowing out of people's gardens into the street.  From there becoming polluted with the oil and chemicals from all the roads on its way to the sewers. From this point, as taxpayers, we pay for this free resource to be cleaned and pumped back to our taps in the house.

So, I hope it is now more clear to you that harvesting rainwater on your home site is not only economical, but ecological as well. On this page you will find several resources for containing your own rainwater in simple and economical ways.

City of Tucson Water Harvesting Guidance Manual:

This publication is a free download, supplied by the city of Tucson, and is a 41 page water harvesting manual.

Rain Water Storage Containers:

For your supply of used drums, for rain water storage, visit this local supplier who has non-polluted products for sale.

Comprehensive Book:

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands

Volume 1 - Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain Into Your Life and Landscape by Brad Lancaster

Price: $24.95 (200 Pages)

Notice to Home Owner Associations:

I am being asked more and more to speak to the board and its members of home owners regarding the ways in which watering of the landscape can be decreased. The numerous resources on this page will be a guide for you to follow. However, if you wish to use my expert knowledge for your specific circumstances, I can be available by appointment.


How to make a Drum Style Rain Water Harvester

Needed (per unit)

1- 55 gallon clean/non-toxic drum

1-Male threaded 3/4" faucet

1-Nut to hold faucet

1-1 1/2" ABS plumbing connector—male thread with ring nut

1- 45 or 90 degree ABS connector

12" (or more) of 1 1/2" drainage ABS pipe (for overflow)

30" square of mosquito proof window screen

A pedestal of some kind (4-16x8x8" concrete blocks works well)

Flexible downspout (optional)


Drill and two drill bits, 1-3/4" wood borer or reg. drill and

1-1 3/4" door hole drill bit

A half round rough file

Tube of silicone waterproof adhesive caulk

Drum conversion

Decide on location of drum and mark position of faucet and overflow pipe

Drill both holes (faucet hole, centered 2" above base and overflow 2" from top)

File holes smooth to fit faucet and ABS connector

Sand/clean interior area of both hole sites for adhesive compatibility

Hold faucet in place, chalk then tighten nut to hold

Hold pipe connector in place, chalk then tighten nut to hold

Let both dry

Cut window screen to overlap by 4' and cut rope/string or use rubber cord to secure in place

Set up pedestal in drum location—level

Set drum on pedestal and size and cut 1 1/2" pipe for over flow (this is best served into an additional drum... now or later) do not glue, keep flexible for future re-location

Push on 45 connector (carefully) and add the pipe section

Leave to set

Next day connect flexible downspout to guttering