Sunday, January 1, 2023

Building Community with Rainwater Harvesting Projects

Dan and I were on a mission to photograph some examples of rainwater harvesting for the new website soon to be launched: Desert Lifestyle Tucson.

During our self-guided tour of Dunbar/Spring, we captured more than rock-lined catchment basins and cisterns. There were signs of community - a community that Brad Lancaster carefully crafted along with his guerrilla curb cuts...

... including signs displaying before and after photos of the neighborhood project. It's a story I love to share - how this once stark, crime-ridden neighborhood became an example of Green Stormwater Infrastructure and community building.

The streets are now lined with large native shade trees nourished by stormwater runoff. Neighbors followed Brad's example, and installed their own curb cut basins to take advantage of the monsoon rain that had threatened to flood the foundation of some of their houses. The once illegal curb cuts are now an integral part of the city's Green Stormwater Infrastructure policy.

Evidence of community collaboration expands throughout the neighboring streets with traffic calming chicanes and medians decked with edible desert plants and cool art, a well-used bike lane and lovely, well-worn walking paths through lush canopies of full mesquite, palo verde, and ironwood trees.

Crime has actually declined as neighbors came outside to enjoy it.

We spotted another neighbor out enjoying the shade of the native vegetation in the traffic circle.

Dan and I caught some of that neighborhood spirit and gathered a few pieces of trash.

We got in one last shot of Brad's neighborhood...

... before heading across Stone for a yummy vegetarian lunch in the shade of saguaro ribs at our favorite neighborhood restaurant, La Indita.

We took with us inspiration for community building projects for our neighborhood.

More Information: 

The Water Harvester: An Invitation to Abundance