Nate Downey

Nate Downey — Water Use in the Bold, New American Landscape

Water Is the New Solar

Presentation 7-9 p.m. Friday, June 27. $10
Sabine Hall, Room SH118, Richland College, 12800 Abrams Road, Dallas, TX 75243

Solar-electric sales have grown for decades, and it seems this trend will continue. Award-winning author, successful entrepreneur, and long-time permaculture practitioner Nate Downey says that the water-harvesting industry will soon join solar energy as an economic engine driving us toward real sustainability. As supplies of potable water shrink, providers of harvested roof-water and storm-water will have a huge and growing market. It’s not too late to be part of the water-harvesting revolution, and you don’t have to be a plumber either. In every water-challenged part of the world from Dallas to Dubai, an astounding variety of jobs will be created. The questions then become: How do we efficiently manage this new industry? How do we effectively finance it? And how do we encourage localized water harvesting on a massive scale—before we deplete our rivers, drain our aquifers, and devastate our estuaries.

The Bold, New American Landscape, Part 2: Active Water Harvesting With Cisterns

Workshop 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 28. $99
Sabine Hall, Room SH118, Richland College, 12800 Abrams Road, Dallas, TX 75243

When the rains do come, will you be ready? Tanks containing precipitation go back thousands of years. Now that we've found water on the moons of Jupiter, it’s bizarre that so few people know how to harvest the rain. Fortunately, it’s not rocket science.

Starting with an overview of three basic approaches — at grade, underground, or partially buried — we’ll move swiftly into a description of the five functions of cistern systems: collection, conveyance, filtration, storage and distribution. By lunchtime, we will have explored types of tanks and various options and accessories. In the afternoon, participants will build a cistern system (thanks to at Richland College’s state-of-the-art recycling center. The day will end with an extended Q and A followed by Nate Downey's "List of Cistern Dos and Don'ts."

Given our years-long drought, it's hard to think of a more practical or important workshop. Why not get ready for the next big rain?

More About Nate Downey

Nate Downey is author of “Harvest the Rain: How to Enrich Your Life by Seeing Every Storm as a Resource”. He is an expert in both passive and active water harvesting systems as well as wastewater harvesting and community water harvesting techniques.

For more than a decade, Downey has spoken, taught and written about permaculture practices. He owns Santa Fe PermaDesign, a landscape-design firm whose projects emphasize beauty, function and ecology. He is a frequent guest on public radio and writes a popular column called "Permaculture in Practice" for The Santa Fe New Mexican.

At home, in our backyards, in the workplace, regionally, nationally and internationally, his work addresses what he calls “changescapes,” “permapatterns,” and “permaDesign” — providing practical and visionary ways to be productive and add value to our lives, homes, communities and environment.

Downey says enough rain falls to provide ample water for everyone. “We simply have to collect, store, distribute and reuse a small percentage of that which falls from the sky. Fortunately, this way of saving the world comes with perks such as increasing your property's value, lowering your utility bills or simply creating a comfortable oasis for conversation just outside the kitchen door.”

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