In addition to making personal choices about the water you use, you can collaborate with neighbors to develop neighborhood water-reduction goals and a plan to achieve those goals. There are many opportunities to reduce water use and incorporate rainwater harvesting techniques into your community. Explore the ideas below and utilize the resources to help get you started. Remember, it takes energy to deliver water and it takes water to produce energy. Visit the Energy and Climate Change section for more strategies.
Conduct a neighborhood water audit. Collecting information about how your neighborhood currently uses water is a great starting point. Collaborate with neighbors to look at how much water individuals use each month (information can be found on your water bill) and how much water is used to maintain common areas such as parks or community pools. Review the information and develop strategies for reducing your neighborhood’s water use.
Become a Master Watershed Steward. The Master Watershed Steward program educates and trains citizens across the state of Arizona to serve as volunteers in the protection, restoration, monitoring, and conservation of their water and watersheds. You can take the information you learn back to your neighborhood to guide projects.
Get technical training in water harvesting, green infrastructure, and watershed restoration. Watershed Management Group (WMG) offers a variety of trainings to transfer knowledge and skills in the topics of integrated water harvesting, green infrastructure, and watershed restoration, such as the Water Harvesting Certification course
Start a neighborhood water conservation education program. Host workshops and distribute educational materials with strategies for reducing water consumption and for keeping contaminants out of stormwater. Review the Individual Actions page of this section for individual water-saving ideas.
Visit the City’s Stormwater Management website for more information about keeping stormwater clean.
Incorporate rainwater harvesting into your neighborhood. There are two methods of harvesting rainwater: passive and active. Passive water harvesting focuses on earthworks to manipulate the movement of water. By creating basins and raised berms, you can direct water to vegetation. This is something you can integrate into your neighborhood right away, with relatively low costs. Incorporate techniques into common areas and washes through neighborhood work days.
Active water harvesting utilizes a cistern to capture water from your roof that can be stored and used for irrigation throughout the year. If your neighborhood has parks or common areas with ramadas or other rooftops, these may be opportunities for capturing rainwater for irrigation in these areas. If you have a community garden, consider adding a small ramada to capture and store rainwater from for use in the garden. An integrated system of both passive and active rainwater techniques will make the most of your water resources.
Resources to help get you started:
Tucson Water’s Water Harvesting webpage:http://www.tucsonaz.gov/water/harvesting
City of Tucson Water Harvesting Guidance Manual (pdf)
Implementation of water harvesting techniques is a water conservation measure that can also enhance natural habitats. This manual provides information and design ideas to developers, engineers, designers, contractors and the general public.
Free rainwater harvesting demonstration sites and tours:
WMG has many programs to assist in neighborhood water conservation and management, such as:
• Listing of rainwater harvesting demonstration sites;
• Neighborhood Watershed Leaders Training Program;
• Neighborhood Model to Address Urban Stormwater Pollutants
Brad Lancaster’s comprehensive rainwater harvesting website:http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/
University of Arizona Cooperative and Arizona Department of Water Resources“Harvesting Rainwater for Landscape Use”
PRO offers both small grants and technical assistance. They assist groups working together to mobilize and build upon existing talents and resources within the community.
Learn from Community Models. People throughout the community are working together to make Tucson more sustainable. Learn from their projects and use the strategies in your neighborhood.