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Hurricanes Norbert and Odile caused horrible destruction in Baja, Mexico, while those of us further north were more fortunate. We got the abundant rainfall from the hurricanes on September 8 and 18, but not the violent winds. How many of us were prepared to use the rain for good in the drought-parched southwest? How many of us were unprepared?

As the rain fell, the lack of preparation for it was widespread. Water poured off roofs into yards then into the streets. Surging street creeks formed as additional water from parking lots, driveways, and schoolyards joined the flow. Properties downstream were flooded.

Looking downstream. Our side of the street is on the left. Looking behind/downstream of the truck on the left, you’ll note how there is no water flowing along the curb behind the truck. This is because our street-side basins are capturing all the street runoff.

Looking downstream. Our side of the street is on the left. Looking behind/downstream of the truck on the left, you’ll note how there is no water flowing along the curb behind the truck. This is because our street-side basins are capturing all the street runoff.

However, a growing number of people are seeing and managing the rain as a gift to invest, or to plant in a way that grows our community’s resilience.

Many in my neighborhood capitalize on the rainfall with street-side basins and in-street chicanes or rain gardens that freely irrigate food-bearing, street-shading, native vegetation (learn how to do the same in my book series, Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond).

Wanting to test the resiliency of these simple rain-planting basins, I decided to transform a 5-year, 1.5-inch (38-mm) rain event into a 1,000+-year, 19.5-inch (495-mm) rain event with a simple flow diversion. The results were fantastic.

Click here to continue reading about my rain-multiplying experiment, the basins that harvested these abundant rains, and the math behind the results.

‘Drops In a Bucket’ Blog © 2014
www.HarvestingRainwater.com

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