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March 4th, 2009
Rainwater Harvesting: US Permaculture Expert Challenges Australia

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PR – Everybody knows that permaculture originated in Australia—and that Australia is the world’s leader in rainwater harvesting tanks. So how can an American permaculturist challenge Australia on rainwater harvesting? Read on!

Brad Lancaster—the author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volumes I & II—has studied rainwater harvesting all over the world. From the rural backlands of Zimbabwe to the Thar desert of Rajastan, India—along with indigenous Hopi and Tohono O’dham practices here in the desert southwest of the US—Lancaster has seen the power of traditional rainwater harvesting techniques in action, transforming drylands into green, food-producing oases. These techniques center largely on the use of water-harvesting earthworks: simple landforms that catch rainwater and infiltrate it into the soil.

In 2007, the author traveled to Australia and was greatly impressed by the widespread use of rainwater harvesting tanks, particularly in rural areas. He was also impressed by the number of highly knowledgeable permaculture and sustainable gardening experts. He found, however, that rainwater harvesting strategies in Australia did not consistently include earthworks and rain-gardens.

In acknowledging Australia as the world leader in rainwater harvesting, the author is issuing an informal challenge to the country as a whole to integrate water-harvesting earthworks into its already extensive and diverse use of rainwater harvesting tanks.

“Water-harvesting earthworks are a time-tested way to reduce erosion, increase the fertility of the soil, and produce thriving gardens,” said Lancaster, “They also have the potential to reduce or eliminate the use of household drinking water for landscape irrigation.”  He goes on to note that most other industrialized nations are a decade or more behind Australia in terms of municipal water conservation and residential rainwater tank systems, making its leadership on the issue even more important in the years to come.

Perhaps you would be interested in reviewing one or more of Brad’s books—writing about the his work–or interviewing the author himself? If so, I’d be happy to send you a complimentary copy of either of his books, or setting up an interview via telephone or email.

 Lancaster’s books—Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volumes I and II—offer a near-encyclopedic guide for the homeowner interested in greening his or her home landscape with integrated water-harvesting strategies (including rainwater, stormwater and greywater.) Additionally, these clearly-written books, filled with friendly illustrations, present numerous inspiring examples of water-harvesting worldwide with rainwater harvesting earthworks. More information is available on the author’s website at


These books flesh out all the details on time-tested strategies for utilizing water-harvesting earthworks, and are destined to become some of the most dog-eared books on the shelf of green living enthusiasts worldwide.

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