Do you want to learn how to harvest rainwater to support a beautiful, regionally adapted, low -water-use landscape in your yard? A new video series launched in June provides instruction on how to design, install, and maintain residential-scale, passive rainwater harvesting features. In passive water harvesting, rainwater is conveyed directly to a landscaped area and infiltrated in the soil.

Landscapes that incorporate rainwater harvesting and native/drought-tolerant plants require little supplemental irrigation. Rainwater harvesting provides the deep watering that large plants like trees and shrubs need in our hot and dry climate. Capturing and infiltrating rainwater also reduces runoff that carries pollutants to the Rio Grande River.

In this series, you will learn how to construct some of the most common passive rainwater harvesting features in residential applications – basins, swales and soil sponges. The training addresses site selection, sizing basins, grading swales, installing soil sponges for enhanced infiltration and selecting plants. It is presented by four local experts on rainwater harvesting and arid-adapted gardens: Jim Brooks, Tess Houle, Judith Phillips, and Hunter Ten Broeck.

To view the training videos, go to:

The video series was developed through a collaboration between Bernalillo County, Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Arid LID Coalition, and included the installation of a Rainwater Harvesting Learning Landscape at the Gutiérrez-Hubbell House History and Cultural Center. Please visit the Rainwater Harvesting Learning Landscape in person to see an example of a rainwater harvesting feature designed for our arid climate.

Author:  Steve Glass, Chair, Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District, and Megan Marsee, Water Conservation and Resource Manager, Bernalillo County Photography: Michael Payton, Rainwater Harvesting Design. Have a question about the article?