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Water harvesting in southern AZ

 
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Hi everyone!
I recently moved to southern Arizona and currently setting up a little off grid home.  I’d like to work towards creating a little desert oasis using just water collection and earthworks.  I’m posting here to see if anyone has any advice or if anyone could point me to resources that might be beneficial to my situation.

My area gets 14-19 inches of rain annually and I will have around 1000 sq/ft of surface area to collect water. So far I have a little over 3000 gallon storage capacity.  Having lived on the road and hauling my own water for the last 4 years I know I can comfortably live off of 10 gallons per day (dish washing, shower, laundry).. although I am unaware of water usage for creating an oasis!

So far I am considering reusing grey water (Shower and rinse water from sink) in a greenhouse that will be attached to my main house.  Similar to the earthship designs that I’ve seen in Taos, NM.  To be honest I am a bit concerned that I don’t even use enough water to water plants with my grey water!  I am considering using ollas but perhaps in a way that could be auto filled from my cisterns?  I do travel frequently so I am hoping to set up a system that will eventually run completely without me being here.  I also plan on mulching everything and building basins to capture the rain on the property.

If anyone has any advice or could point me in the direction of resources that they have found to be helpful I would really appreciate it!

Kadin
 
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In AZ myself ...  so very interested in this thread.

14-19 inches is a ton of water (compared to my 9").

What's your elevation and latitude?  I imagine you are up high.

Greenhouse will help a bit, Sure the heat in the winter is nice, but also from moisture won't escape so fast....blocks drying wind, etc.

Might need to ventilate in the summer of course.
 
steward
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
4150
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
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Kadin said, " I’d like to work towards creating a little desert oasis using just water collection and earthworks.



This sounds totally possible to me.

My suggestion would be to look at what plants are native to Arizona.

Also, look at drought-resistant plants.  I probably get less rain than you do.

For this desert oasis are you looking for trees, shrubs, and flowers?

I live in a drought-prone area of Texas.  I am not in West Texas though I am not far from the boundary line.

I do not water my plants.  Once you get the trees, shrubs and plants establish, most likely using native plants you will not need to water often.

I have blue sage, mealy blue sage, autumn sage, and several others that work well for me.

Here are a couple of threads that you or others might be interested in:

https://permies.com/t/141574/Forest-Garden-Desert

https://permies.com/t/141627/Medicinal-Plants-Work-Desert-Forest

 
Anne Miller
steward
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
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Also, look at anything by Brad Lancaster:

https://permies.com/wiki/51855/Rainwater-Harvesting-Drylands-Brad-Lancaster

His website says volume 3 won't be released before 2022:

https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/store/books/volume3/

He also has a YouTube Channel which is on the book link.

 
Kadin Goldberg
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My latitude is 31.44 and at about 5500 feet... so yes, pretty high considering the area.  A lot of the rain comes in the monsoon season so I am a bit concerned that I won’t have enough storage capacity to weather the dry spells.  I guess we’ll see!

I plan on planting a lot of food producing native drought tolerant plants... just need to learn what those are! 😄

Brad Landcaster is who inspired me to attempt this!  I haven’t watch many of his videos but I do have a book by him.  

I’ll check those other threads when I have an extra moment!  Thanks for putting them out there!
 
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