‘Planting water’ – lessons from Tucson and Zimbabwe

The desert city of Tucson, Arizona, gets more rainfall each year than its residents use, but pays $80 million to pipe in water from the Colorado River through the Central Arizona Project canal. Brad Lancaster, a nationally recognized rainwater harvesting expert who runs a permaculture consulting firm, doesn’t think this makes much sense.

“It’s insane that we’re still spending so much money to bring lower-quality water from 300 miles (480 km) away when we have this huge amount of water coming free of charge from the sky that we could be using as a primary source,” says the author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond. “I don’t think we should be using the Colorado River as our checking account.”

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