Solutions for Self-Reliance

How to Get Lots of Free Water (Yes, Even in Arizona)



It’s true.  Like oil, and nearly every other natural resource, freshwater is about to become very expensive.  That’s particularly true for the water that governments or markets control. To route around this damage to your wallet, you’ll need to go direct to the source.

You need to start harvesting rainwater.

Here’s one simple trick to do so.

Cut a curb drain. You’ll have more free water than you can use.

It’s a trick that even (especially) works in very dry locations (Arizona, etc.). Curb drains let rainwater run-off from the street flow onto your property. Once there, it is absorbed into prepared/planted soil for filtration, storage and use.

Here’s what a curb drain looks like in front of a large home in Minnesota.


As you can guess, a curb drain aids the community.

How? It alleviates risk of a flooding and pollution.

Believe it or not, towns and cities view this rainwater run-off as a nuisance/danger that needs to be disposed of, due to the risk of flooding and roadway pollutants (oil, etc.).  However, street pollutants that become a problem when millions of gallons are dumped in a nearby river or bay, aren’t easily purified in small, household size quantities.

That’s where the curb drainage system works its magic.

A simple cut in the curb allows rainwater runoff to flow off the street and into porous, curbside soil.

This soil allows it to soak into the ground.  Once in the ground, a rain-garden, one built with plants that purify the water, gets to work (with the help of soil bacteria/fungus).  By the time the water seeps into the home’s foodscape, it’s clean enough to be used by fruit bearing bushes and trees.

Here’s an example of curb drain food forest that was grown in Arizona by Brad Lancaster (here’s a short flick on the effort that’s worth watching).

Using Streetside Water





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PS:  This month’s Resilient Strategies report provides insight on how to harvest, manage, and utilize rainwater that falls onto your lawn.  It’s a critical first step to turning your lawn into a system that can turn your home into an asset worth owning.  There’s also a good roundtable discussion (available for download) with a successful resilient entrepreneur (on a side note:  he’s actually hiring people for resilient jobs because he has more business than he can handle) that touches on this issue.

PPS:  Plant roots can be used to clean indoor air of pollutants too.  So if you are stuck inside a house during the summer (too hot outside) or winter (too cold outside), you might want to employ some plants to improve the healthiness of your air.

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