Saving water wherever you can is more and more critical as we cope with a multi-year drought. Thats led a lot of Tucsonans into harvesting rain water.

The big bright blooms in the yard of Bob Bortner and his husband Larry Straka get a lot of their water from the sky, collected into two large tanks.

Showing a tank and the collection gutters Bortner says, Whats happening right here is that we have water coming off of our solar panels and the roof in the back, just going down into the gutter down into this and into this 870 gallon rain barrel. And you got to this and we have two of them.

Some of the rainwater goes into watering cans, but also into small channels that carry water where its needed.

Following the path of one channel, Bortner says, We like our lemon tree and it gets a lot of water and we have it going down, rushing down through here and into a basin down here.

Most of their plants thrive without a lot of water. A large share of the water moves through carefully crafted contours placed to carry water from the harvesting system, and collect and hold rain as it comes straight from the sky.

What this is also doing in addition to catching the water from the overflow. It’s also keeping the water that comes down onto our property instead of going out onto the street and just flooding, basically being useless out on the street.

Some supplemental city water is involved. Its delivered through a drip irrigation system that helps with precise placement and timing.

Bortner is a member of Sustainable Tucson. He says if you want to try water harvesting, you may decide not to buy water tanks. He recommends spending maybe a year watching how water flows across your land. Then you can see where you can dig a little to help it hold water where plants can use it to bloom.

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