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on September 11, 2008
This book deserves to be widely read, not just for people in the desert. I live in a region that gets nearly 45" of rainfall per year, and I can't wait to apply some of what I've learned from this great "how to" manual. Fresh water is a vanishing resource on our planet, and when we send it all down the storm drains, it makes its way from storm drain to stream to river to ocean: gone. To keep from draining our aquifers, we need to capture that water in our landscape, so it can percolate back into the earth, or be used by our plants.

My first project will be to divert some of the runoff from our blacktop driveway into an "infiltration basin", where it can be used by my trees and shrubs, and soak into the earth. "Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2" shows you how to do this, step by step, and also tells you how to build the simple but effective specialized tools you'll need (such as a "bunyip water level", so you know BEFORE a washout rainstorm where the water will flow).

Other topics include systems of berms and basins; terraces; diversion swales; check basins; and french drains. There are many helpful drawings throughout (whimsical but clear!).

If you're interested in water conservation, this book is for you. It's a tour-de-force on the subject of capturing and using rainwater and runoff in the landscape.
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on May 27, 2009
I bought the two editions for this book, but I find the most of the first one in the second, so its not necessary to buy the two volumes.
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on January 7, 2009
Here is a book full of inspiring stories and painstaking details about how to catch and use the thousands of gallons of water we have each been utterly wasting every time it rains. It is both a call to action and a detailed instruction manual, and in each category it is clearly written and compelling.

Being a fairly right-brained person, the stories from around the world about individuals and communities organizing to harvest rainwater and vastly improve their lives appealed to me the most. Descriptions of standing in the rain and watching the flow of water on your property made complete sense to me. I truly believe that you can read this book and intuit how to alter your landscape to harvest water and grow amazing plants without understanding the engineering behind it all.

On the other hand, if you are a left-brained, engineer-type, you too will love this book. It is extraordinarily well organized and includes everything you need to know to create small and large water-harvesting systems. There are pages of equations; there are lists and very clear descriptions of every tool you will need for every project. While none of this made any sense to me, I can see that it would be enormously helpful to many others.

Whether you live in the desert Southwest US or a rainforest, fresh water is becoming more scarce every day. This excellent book will help you harvest and husband this precious resource.
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on February 5, 2009
I think that Vol. 2 covers a lot of territory. I was mostly interested in making my own earthworks to harvest rainwater on my lot. There were many options based on slope, function etc. A great deal of information is provided on projects around the world, agricultural issues and gray water harvesting. For me this more specialized information was not necessary. I just wanted to build my own earthen harvesting berms and basins. The perfect audience for this book as is would be people doing low cost agriculture projects in second and third world countries. I still found the book very useful and put many ideas into action on my own.
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on September 29, 2008
I teach water harvesting and watershed restoration at a local college, and this book, along with volume 1, is my primary resource when it comes to water storage in the soil. Absolutely a must for anyone seeking to make full use of the water that falls on their land.
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on March 24, 2014
I had previously purchased books on cisterns and rainwater collection. However most them focused on collecting water and then distributing it. Lancaster does a great job of showing you how to store water in the best place possible. The soil. This book is easy to read with simple principles that are explored in depth with a great deal of clarity. The illustrations are easy to understand. This book stands alone apart from Volume I.
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on November 1, 2015
I've read a lot of permaculture style books and I learned a few new things in here that make it well worth the read. Even though this book targets drylands, there is a lot of good information in here that applies everywhere, plumbing for greywater harvesting, etc.
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on April 16, 2015
I've found this full of useful information to help make better use of the rain that falls on my property and to control erosion. The author is enthusiastic about his subject and is very helpful. At times, he's repetitious, presenting the same ideas in many places, but one can easily read past those passages.
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on December 12, 2014
Anyone who lives where rain is scarce would benefit from this series. Even if you are on county water, there are still benefits for the environment and water table to encouraging water to recharge underground water resources rather than simply draining off. Plus, rain collection systems can be used to supplement county water, such as for landscaping uses.
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on August 16, 2015
Volume 1 is a better book. This one doesn't add much at all to volume 1 and merely repeats. I have 30 acres I want to improve and this didn't add much helpful information for larger scale harvesting.
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