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Essential Rainwater Harvesting
A Guide to Home-Scale System Design
Water is a crucial resource increasingly under stress. Yet rainfall, even in arid climates, can make up a sizable portion of any home, acreage, or farm’s water requirements if harvested and utilized with care. The key is high-quality site-specific design and sensible maintenance.
Essential Rainwater Harvesting is a comprehensive manual for designing, building, and maintaining water harvesting systems for the warm and cold climates of the world. Presenting design considerations and approaches for the most common household rainwater supply scenarios – primary, supplemental, and off-grid supply – this step-by-step approach covers:
- Planning for full-property water security
- Guidance on navigating regulatory requirements
- Templates for building your own spreadsheet-based calculation tool
- Site-specific planning and spatial layout
- Materials and component design and selection
- System maintenance and upkeep.
Incorporating the latest independent research, this practical resource provides DIYers, trades, and rainwater practitioners with the essential tools, methods, and technical know-how to design, confidently build, and maintain rainwater harvesting systems that produce quality water without necessarily needing end-of-line disinfection or sterilization.
Rob Avis, P.Eng. is co-owner and operator of Adaptive Habitat, a leading edge property design firm for resilient homes, acreages, and farms and Verge Permaculture, a globally recognized award-winning education business. He has over 10 years of experience in project management, ecological design, and sustainable technologies. He lives in Calgary, Alberta.
Michelle Avis, P.Eng. is co-owner and operator of Adaptive Habitat, a leading edge property design firm for resilient homes, acreages, and farms and Verge Permaculture, a globally recognized award-winning education business. She has over 10 years of experience in project management, ecological design, and sustainable technologies. She lives in Calgary, Alberta.
"This book is essential for anyone intending to live a healthy sustainable lifestyle. Rob and Michelle Avis are brilliant permaculture designers of the highest caliber worldwide. Their work is always accurate, precise, and detailed, and this book is exactly that. It will probably be in print for the next century. Buy one for yourself and it will be useful for all future generations."
Geoff Lawton, Permaculture consultant, designer and teacher, www.geofflawtononline.com
"Essential Rainwater Harvesting is chock-full of detailed advice for how to design a personalized rainwater harvesting system for a wide variety of purposes. The authors have many years of professional experience to draw on, giving you all you need to know to accomplish a successful plan. I wish I had this book when I built my first harvesting system."
Kelly Hart, author, Essential Earthbag Construction www.naturalbuildingblog.com
"Rapid and massive climate change in the decades ahead will strain water resources in unprecedented ways throughout the world. You owe it to your family to follow the prescriptions in this book and be prepared for droughts and shortages through rainwater harvesting. You’ll learn everything you need to know to make it happen by following 'the Avis method."
Jerry Yudelson, P.E., author of Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis
"This is going on my shelf as a crucial reference for design work. Accessible and quick to reference, yet as thorough as one could ever need on the subject. A fantastic design tool."
Ben Falk, author, The Resilient Farm and Homestead
"With growing populations, fast-depleting aquifers, and climatic instability, the information in Essential Rainwater Harvesting will only get more valuable as we move into the future. The science-based approach that Rob and Michelle Avis take should help not only to get your system set up, but also educate policymakers with the most recent research."
Dave Boehnlein, author, Practical Permaculture, and Principal, Terra Phoenix Design
"As the world warms, and water supply becomes more and more insecure in many parts of the world, knowing how to safely capture and store water is fast becoming a key skill for anyone wanting to make their lives more resilient. This fine tome tells you everything you need to know in an accessible and inspiring way. Go to it! Become a rainwater harvester! Embrace your downpipes and filtration systems! And all the while with this brilliant book stuffed into your back pocket."
Rob Hopkins, founder, the Transition movement, transitionnetwork.org
"Inspired to save your own rainwater for garden and home? Essential Rainwater Harvesting is bursting with personal, practical, and precise information to get gardeners saving water right now. In this comprehensive look at a complex subject, I discovered that everyone benefits from a little extra water sense, so dive in now and start saving water today."
Donna Balzer, horticulturalist and author, No Guff Vegetable Gardening
"This book is an essential addition to every homeowner’s library. The challenge of designing a safe and reliable rainwater harvesting system for your home is presented in a logical and easy-to-follow way, and makes it easier than ever to take advantage of the benefits of rainwater harvesting for urban and rural sustainability."
Rene Michalak, Governor, Canadian Association for Rainwater Management, Prairie Chapter
"I wish this book and the others in the Sustainable Building Essentials series had been available when we built our home years ago. Michelle and Rob do a great job presenting not only rainwater harvesting, but how it fits into a whole-systems approach for increased resiliency. They back up their recommendations with the latest research on safe rainwater utilization."
Laurie Neverman, Common Sense Home, commonsensehome.com
"A great book that appeals to a great variety of audience from the inexperienced to the professional, and covering all aspects of rainwater harvesting from planning to commissioning. It is well-structured, allowing the reader to pick up and implement the basics, or delve into the details with complex analysis on feasibility and optimization. This book is unique with all the tools being provided for the calculations and explained clearly, as well as fantastic advice on best location, materials selection, and plumbing connections. Well done Rob and Michelle; this book certainly compliments the Sustainable Building Essentials series."
Rod Wiese, Managing Director & Principal Engineer, Storm Consulting, stormconsulting.com.au
"Essential Rainwater Harvesting is the most holistic and actionable resource on rainwater harvesting that I have encountered. The book covers all the elements of a well-designed rainwater harvesting system in a succinct and easy-to-read format. Using their engineering and permaculture expertise, Rob and Michelle have created an easy-to-follow guide walking the reader through the design process for their rainwater harvesting system. The powerful spreadsheet tool allows users to confidently build a custom system for their specific needs. This book is an excellent resource for professionals and novices alike."
Andrea Rocchio, Water Harvesting Practitioner
"Rob and Michelle have taken a lot of complex information and created a really down-to-earth step-by-step guide. This user-friendly handbook helps you understand and define your own water harvesting goals before digging into the specifics of rainwater harvesting systems. I love the examples, explanations, and personal insights that make data collection and use so approachable."
Steven Biggs, Radio Host: Farm. Food. Garden
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