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Principles of Rainwater Harvesting

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An outline of principles for designing rainwater harvesting systems was designed by Brad Lancaster.

  1. Begin with long and thoughtful observation.
  2. Start at the top (highpoint) of your watershed and work your way down.
  3. Start small and simple.
  4. Slow, spread, and infiltrate the flow of water.
  5. Always plan an overflow route, and manage that overflow as a resource.
  6. Maximize living and organic groundcover.
  7. Maximize beneficial relationships and efficiency by “stacking functions.”
  8. Continually reassess your system: the “feedback loop.”



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