Stone Curves Cohousing Community benefits from the rainwater safely collected and stored in 9 rainwater catchment systems. These rainwater catchment systems were installed as part of four public workshops taught by Technicians For Sustainability and Brad Lancaster, author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands, and funded in part by an Urban and Community Forestry Challenge grant.
A network of micro-basins (also known as a form of passive water harvesting) contribute to the health of the landscape. Cistern sites were identified based on their potential to both harvest water and to feed surrounding trees and plants.
This project transformed Stone Curves from a primarily passive water harvesting site into an integrated passive-active water model for community permaculture and urban forestry.
This led to three important environmental benefits:
• Providing a predominately salt-free source of water, the system will enrich and extend the life of the landscape. As the rainwater forces accumulated salts down and away from the root zone area, greater root growth and water uptake increases the drought tolerance of the plants.
• Managed water flow will minimize flooding and erosion.
• Considering on average 40 percent of Tucson’s municipal water is used externally, water harvesting reduces the use of groundwater for landscaping and thus helps replenish the aquifer.
Given the facet of Stone Curves' vision to connect with the greater community, the neighborhood did not want its site to be a passive model or example, merely to be viewed and admired, as can often happen with pilot projects. Rather, like the water harvesting system itself, the 48-household community of Stone Curves strives to also actively engage, learn, and share with other permaculture and urban forestry enthusiasts in the greater Tucson community. People from throughout Tucson had the opportunity to learn hands-on how to install a cistern through the four workshops. After participating in the workshop, they were able to consult with Stone Curves residents and the workshop leaders with questions specific to their own site. This service is intended to reduce the barriers participants might face in applying what they have learned and thus help propagate the development of more native forests throughout Tucson.