Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond is a much awarded series of titles out of the USA by Brad Landcaster. Brad’s a Permie who has worked extensively in grassroots greywater re-use and has also worked on many community projects in both developing and developed nations in the realms of rainwater harvesting systems.
Volume I focuses on designing and implementing rainwater harvesting systems for domestic, rural and community use, with a wide range of examples form various countries. Drylands processes are emphasized, but there’s plenty of other examples and the techniques hold true for any biosphere. It’s a great overview of the basics of rainwater harvesting for a range of environments, and full of tips and tricks for designing a complete system, or for the 1% rule of small, slow solutions.
Volume II focuses on water harvesting earthworks, again with an emphasis on drylands environments, and again the information and techniques hold true across different biospheres.
Now there are many good strains of writing on water-harvesting earthworks – there’s people like P.A. Yeomans, an Australian farmer who developed the Keyline system of farming in western Sydney in the 1940-1950’s and put out Water for every Farm, which is seriously funky stuff and far reaching for the carbon farmers end of things, among others.
There’s classic Permaculture earthworks, as outlined in Bill Mollison’s magnus opus Permaculture: A designer’s manual. There’s also folk like Peter Andrews who’se natural sequence farming basically incorporates aspects of both Keyline and Permaculture techniques by another name with a focus on bioremediation and watercourse re-shaping.
All the above are important reading. However, what I like so much about Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Vol II is that it consciously and successfully straddles both the rural and the urban sectors in its quest to explain how to effectively catch, store and use rainwater and greywater.
There’s just as much a focus on the domestic and suburban settings as there is on the large-scale, rural techniques, including great ideas on rainwater runoff from sidewalks, speed hump diversions, driveways, you name it.
The book also goes into some depth for plans for greywater re-use which don’t involve expensive, proprietary systems or too much bucket-hauling (hooray). AND on top of all that there are lots of community-level examples, which are great for town planners, and also good to take to your local council meeting if you want a working example to lobby with for how you’d like your street to be.
Both volumes are easy to read and are also full of the in-depth calculations you need if you’re going to go hard-core on the subject. Plenty of working examples and plenty of plans for how to do it yourself. Previously a bit tricky to track down in Oz, both volumes now have an Australian publisher so you can stamp your foot at your local bookstore until one (or both) appears.