Tucson currently gets 90 percent of its water pumped through the Colorado River, more than 300 miles away.

For the past six years, the non-profit Tucson Clean and Beautiful have been working to preserve and improve Tucsons environment through the Rain Works program.

“Water is life. Water is at the heart of our communities,” said Nichole Casebeer, director of the Rain Works Program.

The organization is funded through Tucson Water and she says it began in 2017 thanks to grassroots efforts in the community.

“The city saw the desire of neighbors to do more green infrastructure and started a program to fund neighborhoods to do the work,” she said.

The program aims to make use of Tucsons limited rainfall of around 11 inches per year, with most of that rain coming during the summer season.

“Were storing it in the soil, were storing it in plants, were storing it in biomass,” Casebeer explained. “And thats carrying that water through the dry season and creating benefits year-round for the neighborhoods.”

The results dont just benefit the citys plant life but its residents as well.

Neighborhoods across town are lined with trees that create a canopy, protecting from the sweltering Sonoran sun.

Casebeer said these systems can “provide water conservation benefits and shade benefits [that are] huge for the neighborhoods.”

With the city also getting on board with its unveiling of the One-Water master plan in 2022, Casebeer wants no rain bucket left unfilled.

“I think the next stage is weaning ourselves off of cap water and relying on stormwater as a legitimate water resource.”