813 N. 9th Ave, Tucson AZ 85705


"Rainwater Harvesting" Permaculture Dunbar/Spring

Lancaster Residence.
1. Average annual rainfall at site:
12 inches

2. Longest days without rain at site:
5 months

3. Do you register your site's rainfall with RainLog.org?:

4. Site elevation (feet above sea level):

5. Can you make your site plan available to ease calculations?
Yes / No
 If yes, please note:
 Total site area:  ________
Total developed area:  _________
Area of catchment surfaces (roofs):  ______
Square footage of living space:  ________

6. Please estimate the cost of the Rainwater Harvesting work done on site
Cistern $700
Gutters $100
Earthworks $0 - home labor.
Greywater $300 for materials, home labor.

7. How often do you water your landscape using municipal and/or well water?  Please estimate quantity used.

8. Approximately 5% of exterior landscaping water needs met with municipal water.  100% of interior needs use municipal water.

9. What benefits, problems, or lessons have you experienced with your system?
Problems: bathtub greywater siphon system is too inconvenient.  The basins need rock lining to prevent them from melting inwards on themselves after one rainy season.  Higher water use plants need to be within 30ft of the house.  Walking spaces should be 2 ft wide for the storm basins.  Storm basins shouldn't be so large, so that vehicles can better park.  The site needs more cistern water storage to make it to monsoon without using municipal water.  Rainwater in tanks should be run through washing machine before going to plants.

10.  Who was involved in the development of the features? Designers, consultants, implementers, maintenance folk, vision holders, etc...
Homeowners, Christian Meuli (greywater).

11. Description of Site Aesthetic (well-groomed look vs. a naturalized look vs. a homegrown DIY)
The site evinces a strong do-it-yourself aesthetic, emanating from the homeowners' many years spent experimenting on all aspects of rainwater harvesting on site.

12. What water harvesting features are present on site?
(o) Rainwater Harvesting
(o) Earthworks
(o) infiltration basins: Basins throughout property, on roadside, in backyard in      between combo pathways/swales, and for greywater harvesting.
(o) swales: Swales double as pathways both along roadside and traversing the   backyard, from the house, to the chickens, outdoor shower, composting       toilet, and bike rack, forming a network.
(o) terraces: Terraces transition from the backyard to the house area, which is     approximately two feet lower.
(o) permeable pavement:  ____________________________________________
(o) Cistern(s) harvesting water  
Additional Notes: exterior use, above ground, used primarily to water the garden
Type: Ferro cement, Dry, Gravity fed Capacity: 1,200 gal. Dimension: 5' x 10' x 5'8"    Catchment Surface Type: galvanized steel Surface area (in ft2): ___________

13. Greywater Harvesting:
For each system below, note:

Type of system: tankless-gravity fed, tank dependent-pump driven, siphon system, other.

Distribution: branched drain, multi-pipe, diverter valves, infiltration chamber.

If, and how, greywater access/diversion/valving is convenient to person at source of greywater generation (such as multi-pipe greywater- and sewer-pipes both located at washer or a diversion valve located beneath a sink

How is greywater beneficially reused on site? (Irrigating perennial vegetation, other))

#1 Outdoor Shower: Permanent setup with 3 drains with 2 covers to control water flow.  Siphon from indoor shower.  Also hose system thrown over a tree branch as a demonstration.

#1 Washing Machine: multi-pipe supporting perennial food bearing vegetation.

#1 Sink: Branched drain system- supports date palm, mesquite, peach tree, white zapote, orange tree, and a fig tree.

#__ Other: ____________________________________________________________

#__ Other: ____________________________________________________________

Additional notes: Bathtub siphon system inconvenient.  Sink diverter valve very accessible.  Washing machine invites community - neighbors use it regularly, providing them with local, cheap access to washing facilities while providing Brad with extra water to support his food bearing vegetation.

14. Stormwater Harvesting
Note quantity, sizes, stacking of functions (passive irrigation, heat island reduction, flood control, food production, native habitat)

Basins: 9 street side basins, each approximately 27 ft3.  Well vegetated, with native and food bearing vegetation.  Provide approximately 20% street shading to fight heat island effect (aim for 50% - your half of the street).

□ Check dams: ________________________________________________________

Swale network: Swales function as sidewalks along the right of way, edging the berms for the streetside basins while keeping water from flowing off property.

15. Clearwater Harvesting
(o) air conditioning condensate: none
(o)cooler bleed off: no cooler.
(o) reverse osmosis bleed off harvesting: no

16. Dew Condensation Harvesting
Informally - a small quantity of dew condenses on the metal roof.

17. On-site "Waste-water" Harvest/Reuse/Reduction
compost toilets: Pit toilet style, double bed.  When one bed is full, owner moves the cover (with informal hole) over to the other pit (emptying it first if it holds compost from the prior year).  The bed is then covered with dry material to neutralize odor and ward of pests and is left alone to compost.  Used by 2 of 3 residents.

(o) sludgehammer septic tank/leech field reuse: no

(o) constructed wetlands note if constructed wetlands are saving or using more on-site water than conventional systems no

18. Inspector Data Sheet
  1. Total site area in square feet: 46.2ft x 132ft = 6098.4 ft2
  2. Total area of catchment surfaces (roofs): _________ ft2
  3. Total area of catchment surfaces that is harvested: _________  ft2
  4. Average yearly rainfall: 12 inches
  5. Volume of rain falling on site in an average year
(7.48 gal./ft x A x D)       ____________________ gal.

  1. Volume of runoff off catchment in an average year
(7.48 gal./ft x B x D)       ____________________ gal.

  1. Volume of runoff off catchment that is harvesting in an average year
(7.48 gal./ft x C x D)       ____________________ gal.

  1. Annual water consumption (according to water bill): _______________ gal./ year
  2. Average water consumption per month (H / 12): ______________ gal./month
  3. Month of highest water consumption (according to water bill): M ____ #____ gal.
  4. Average volume of potable water consumed per person per day
(H / 365 / # residents):  ______________gal. / person / day

  1. Square footage of building per person to encourage smaller living space:
    748 ft2 / 4 people = 187 ft2 per person.
                (1 drop lost if indoor living space exceeds 600 ft2 per person; 2 drops lost if indoor living space exceeds      1,200 ft2 per person)
19. Estimate the Following with Site Rep
Percentage of landscape irrigation needs met by non-potable, harvested water: ______

Percentage of greywater reused on site: 95%

Percentage of wastewater reused or treated on site: 100% for 2 residents, 0% for third.

Integration of Sustainable Features
(Check features which are present)

20. Passive heating and cooling
(o) East-West Building Orientation

(o) South-facing windows having good-sized roof overhang or awning ____

(o) Percentage of floor area equaling surface area of south-facing windows (strive for 12 to 15% of floor area) _____________________________

(o) Trees on east, west, north - NOT direct south

(o) What percentage of hardscape is shaded in summer - strive for 75%

§         Approximate percentage - 50%

(o) Other Features? White walls, trellis on the southside with winter deciduous plantings which shade during the summer time but let winter sun through.

21. Active on-site renewable energy production
(o) solar hot water

(o) solar power

(o) solar oven

22. Community building
(o) shared use with neighbors

(o) is it in view and celebrated

(o) workshops for installation

(o) Other? Ongoing tours, web tour.

23.  Food production (residential - bonus points to public/business sites)
(o) Vegetable garden irrigated with rainwater: 10-25%

(o) fruit trees irrigated with greywater: 95% rainwater and greywater.

(o) stormwater irrigation of native food-producing trees/shrubs  ___________

(o) Domestic animals supported by rainwater: chickens

24. Wildlife habitat/ecosystem enhancement                                                  
(o) Minimum 10-15% percentage of site area covered with native (vegetation indigenous to a 25-mile radius and within 500 feet of the site and its elevation) plantings: majority of vegetation onsite is native.

25. Erosion control
(o) No signs of erosion problems

§  If present, describe: Minor: rainwater falling from northern roof, from greywater system.

26. Flood control
(o) percentage of on-site rainfall used/infiltrated on site: 100%

(o) percentage of road runoff infiltrated in public rights-of-way (ROW): 95%

§ number of shade trees irrigated in ROW with road runoff: 13, 7 indirectly.

27. Turning wastes into resources/reusing salvaged materials/on site
(o) mulch

(o) urbanite

(o) caliche paths: used to build up pathways and then covered with soil.

(o) on-site composting: all food scraps fed to chickens.

(o) other: composting toilet and 90% garden fencing structure salvaged.

28. Notes on potential Site Improvements
Cistern needs a rainhead screen, gutter the north side, pedestrian platforms smaller size ???, raingutters block too much of the winter sun, cistern storage undersized to maintain garden past April, composting toilet could be more aesthetically pleasing (access point is just a hole), too much erosion on the pathways, needs more reuse of rainwater indoors, bathtub siphon system inconvenient, washing machine greywater system should have access to sewer, greywater outflow points submerged should be airfilled so roots don't enter and clog pipes, or they should exit 3 inches above mulch.

Site Rating:[1]  
1 drop / 2 drops / 3 drops / 4 drops / 5 drops

(awaiting more data)
  1. Explanation of "Drops" Ratings
    5 Drops:
    (o) All or 95% of site's water needs met by rainwater
    (o) Integrative sustainable features from all categories present
    (o) A 5 bucket site should be a fully developed, fully integrated site living almost entirely within its yearly water budget, demonstrating passive heating/cooling, active on-site renewable energy production, food production, wildlife habitat/ecosystem enhancement, community building, erosion and flood control, and an ethos of salvaging waste resources.  A wide diversity of rainwater harvesting features should be present, including greywater- and stormwater-harvesting (low-energy, passive, gravity-fed greywater- and stormwater-harvesting systems are rated higher than higher-energy, active, pumped/tanked systems).   The site will must be sized appropriately to its number of users.  To achieve this rating, a site will likely have matured for at least 5-10 years, and will emanate a feeling of being far more than the sum of its components.

    4 Drops:
    (o) 75% of site's water needs met by rainwater
    (o) Integrative features from most categories present
    (o) A 4 bucket site will demonstrate well-developed rainwater harvesting features that fulfill the majority of the site's water needs.  There will be evidence of many sustainable integrative features present.  Multiple rainwater harvesting features should be present.  The site will be sized appropriately to its number of users.

    3 Drops:
    (o) 50% of site's water needs met by rainwater
    (o) Integrative features from many categories present
    (o) A 3 bucket site will show good efforts towards meeting site's water needs with rainwater.  This site will also be on a path towards integration of sustainable features, with multiple features present.  The site should showcase a variety of rainwater harvesting features, though perhaps they are not fully developed.  Alternatively, perhaps this site rates much higher in all categories, except that the site has a proportionally small number of users for its size.  

    2 Drops:
    (o) 35% of site's water needs met by rainwater
    (o) Integrative features from some categories present
    (o) A 2 bucket site demonstrates a decent start at rainwater harvesting.  Perhaps this site was recently constructed, with an excellent beginning of basin work but has not been well planted to take advantage of those water resources.  Perhaps only one type of feature present (rainwater/greywater/stormwater).  Signs of a few integrative features beyond rainwater harvesting.  Site not getting much bang for its rainwater budget buck.   

    1 Drops:
    (o) 20% of site's water needs met by rainwater
    (o) Few signs of integrative features present.
    (o) Rainwater harvesting features present, but much more work needed to realize site potential.  Still, the rainwater management on this site far surpasses that which is in practiced at the majority of buildings in the Tucson area.  This is a foundation from which to build towards greater things.

    0 Drops:
    99% of the sites in Tucson fall into this category, which include residences, businesses, right of ways, public parks, governmental buildings, etc.  These sites treat rainwater as a stormwater management problem instead of the precious resource it is here in the Sonoran Desert.   Expect to see drainage pathways shunting water away from existing plants into the streets as quickly as possible, and those same rainwater-starved plants appeased instead with spaghetti irrigation lines that waste our dwindling salty CAP-infused groundwater.  Potable water should never go directly to plants in this manner without having been put through at least one other use first, such as wash water.

admin, HabitatMap, jsuder, Tucson Rainwater Harvesting



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