Brad Lancaster: Urban Water Harvesting Systems

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Brad Lancaster: Urban Water Harvesting Systems

Postby George Collins » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:11 pm

Brad Lancaster is one of those guys whose mind we in the permaculture community avail ourselves to often and yet some (most?) have never heard his name. Bill Mollison and David Holmgren are more famous and rightly so for they are the architects whose ideas became the system. That said, a perfect architect without an equally skilled brick layer will never produce structures equal to his vision. Brad Lancaster laid several bricks that became part of the foundation of our potentially sustainable or less unsustainable way of life. Additionally, he made great contributions to the problem of desertification and its reversal.

Here Mr. Lancaster discusses rainwater harvesting strategies for urban environments:

Here are links to two of the books Mr. Lancaster penned:
"Solve world hunger, tell no one." "The, the, the . . . The Grinch!"

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Re: Brad Lancaster: Urban Water Harvesting Systems

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:41 pm

I took the time to watch this video as well. I loved it. Our County has started to install rain gardens in some towns and add green space barriers to a large paved parking lot at our local community college. My town was one of the 1st to try the storm water gardens to reduce run off into the storm sewers. Their sewage system is very old, the town was incorporated in 1827, and much of the system was a combined storm and sanitary sewer. They installed a sewage treatment plant in 1964. Back then they only worried about the solids and the potential bacteria in the local stream that was known locally as ' The Shit Creek " . They did not know about the ammonium nitrates or the biological oxygen demand imposed on the creek waters from the plant. A few years ago they added a $4 million expansion that added two bio tanks that used bacteria to farther treat the poop waters and take out more of the bad stuff. That certainly helped and there are now little fish living in the creek. Unfortunately because of the combined storm and sanitary systems when it rains hard they have 2 over flow places that just allow the combined water to wash out directly into the creek and by pass the sewage plant. They have been permitted by the State do this since 1964. In small rains they just treat the extra volume of water which is an increased cost to the local residents. They are now in the process of separating the 2 water systems in small steps because of the huge cost. The rain garden idea was put forward to naturally reduce the amount of storm water and there fore reduce the amount of run off water that the sewage plant had to treat. The town put the gardens in several paved parking lots that they owned and paid for the gardens for residents who would allow them to be placed in their yards. The residential ones deal with roof and driveway run off. The gardens are attractive and work well. They had a few minor problems when they 1st installed some of them because they were sized wrong. But that was quickly corrected. It has been a very nice improvement and a surprisingly progressive for our little town.

Here is a link to the County Conservation Districts news letter, it is called land marks. click on the cover with the fall trees and scroll down to the article about Mt Pleasant. :)

They do a good job here locally, but their efforts are limited by their recourses and the money allotted for conservation.
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Re: Brad Lancaster: Urban Water Harvesting Systems

Postby Lollykoko » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:45 am

I finally had both time and inclination to watch the Lancaster presentation. I had seen him before, but not in this particular venue.

Anyway, it was interesting and gives me more to think about in my hometown. I live in one of the older sections of town and my house was built 120 years ago. Within the past six years there has been serious renovation on sewers from the downtown area out, as the city itself originally grew. Rain gardens dot several of the main north south streets and other thoroughfares have added a median strip with greenspace. It's attractive as well as functional. I really don't know how much affect it has on the water treatment plant west of here, but the creek water is clearer south of the spillway.

I have so many big plans that aren't getting accomplished! One of those projects is a rain water harvesting system here at the house. The video has me inspired though. Maybe I'll attack my own gutters, since I'm not getting the help I need. I want to feed a self watering container garden from the roof run-off.
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