Rainwater Harvesting: Solution for Drought or Deluge. Help Sweetwater protect our community.

These words of wisdom about rainwater harvesting from our 2016 fundraising campaign still resonate today.

What’s more of a concern? Drought or deluge? We might have both in Santa Barbara this year. How can we work together to protect our community and each other during these trying times?  

Sweetwater Collaborative has ideas and experience implementing innovative solutions that can make a difference in both drought and deluge.  The same principles that save water or create new and different sources of water can be applied to getting too much water on our properties, streets, and neighborhoods.  

Slow, spread, and sink the water, stop it from rushing past us, picking up topsoil and pollution and hurling down to the ocean.

Sweetwater Collaborative helps people put in water harvesting earthworks, tanks, and raingardens, through community based hands-on workshops, design, consulting, coaching, and public and professional classes and courses, building skills and models in our community.

tree planting next to basinjust after first plantingrain tank and overflowand after fall planting

We are poised and ready to expand our efforts to protect our community during deluge while creating water savings for the long term. All we need is community goodwill and financial support and we’ll take off!  Join us today in protecting our beloved area as well as each other.

 Donate to Sweetwater Collaborative today and spread the word! You’ll be glad you did.

What IS rainwater harvesting and why is it so important? 

old school way of dealing with waterpath of abundance and safety for stormwater

A.The same landscape letting the stormwater run off and pollute, and B. after water harvesting to nourish plants and soil.

Reproduced with permission from "Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond" by Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com

Rainwater harvesting is the process of capturing rain and making the most of it as close as possible to where it falls.  By harvesting rainwater on the land within the soil and vegetation, or in cisterns that will later irrigate the land, it is possible to control erosion, reduce flooding, and minimize water pollution.  This practice is enormously beneficial in a world with a finite supply of fresh water that is becoming increasingly polluted. Santa Barbara, with one rainy season a year, is a perfect place to build systems to make the most of the rain we get.

You can collect 600 gallons of water from a 1000 sq ft roof in a 1” storm. If we had harvested rainwater off that roof over the course of our 9 inch rainy season in Santa Barbara last year, we could have collected 5400 gallons of water! This can be redirected into our landscapes from our downspouts, via swales (channels) and mulch basins, to slow, spread, and sink the water. Basins, depressions in the soil that are filled or partially filled with mulch, create a focal point for water to percolate into the soil, creating a biologically rich sponge that is a perfect medium for nurturing drought tolerant and other plants. 

Run-on is stormwater that comes from outside your property or runs down the street and through your neighborhood, picking up speed and heading towards the ocean. Capturing run-on in the soil, in yards or parkways, allows it to slow, spread and sink, as well as hydrate drought tolerant and other plants. 

run-on harvesting

Reproduced with permission from "Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond" by Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com.

There is tremendous opportunity to do more service in our community because of the drought—and to prepare for El Nino storms this winter.   We can provide training and create jobs to fill the need to redesign our water infrastructure and enhance our local water security.  Sweetwater Collaborative has established a good reputation, good connections, and has begun such training. We are the perfect vehicle to take this a step further.  

We can work together to build skills, put in sustainable systems, make our community stronger, and have fun--all at the same time!  

Your contribution will help fund a strong rainwater harvesting and run-on harvesting program with multiple facets- hands-on workshops, design, consulting, coaching, and public and professional classes and courses, building skills and models in our community.

Our goal is $10,000. It’s a small amount for an organization, but an amount that we can use well to continue and expand important programs happen in our community. Please be generous. Help Sweetwater to protect our community, our landscapes, our soil, the ocean, and each other. Donate today.