Rainwater harvesting gaining ground in Tucson

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - As Michael McKisson shows off his 2,700 gallon rainwater storage tank in his backyard, he's excited for what the monsoon rains will bring to this property. Besides the tank, he also passively collects rainwater that will water all of his plants, without the use of city water.

"I thought to myself, 'why am I watering my plants with the same water I drink?'" says McKisson, a journalism professor at the University of Arizona. "Every gallon of water I don't use from the city water is just a couple of bucks in my pocket."

His dream is to someday be able to drink water he harvests, but he is already taking advantage of the city's rainwater harvesting rebate program. Tucsonans can receive a check for up to $2,000 for passively and actively harvesting rainwater.

"The city of Tucson actually provides rebates for both, you can get up to $2,000 back depending on which types of systems you're doing, and how much they cost," says McKisson.

More water falls on the city of Tucson in rain than we consume as a city every year.

"It's falling from the sky for free, we just got to capture it," says Brad Lancaster, a author and expert in the field of rainwater harvesting. Research reveals that Tucson streets receive more than one million gallons of rainfall per mile per year.

"Every street in Tucson could be a shaded greenbelt, a food producing greenbelt," says Lancaster. "An oasis really, that's also flood controlled."

For more information on how to begin our own rainwater harvesting system, click here.

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