Rainwater harvesting has been practiced for hundreds of years throughout the Sonoran Desert — so it’s nothing new. But in recent times there’s been an exciting resurgence using both old and new techniques. Tucson has been an inspirational model for its work on legislation and infrastructure, becoming the rainwater-harvesting capital within the region.
The accumulated knowledge has already begun to permeate on the Mexican side, with projects in Hermosillo and Cananea. Now, at Sky Island Alliance we’re implementing our first rainwater-harvesting installation at Rancho El Cajete in Moctezuma using funds from the New York Community Trust.
To set up the system, we recently worked with the Montaño family, who owns the ranch, as well as students at the nearby Universidad de la Sierra. Over the course of several volunteer days, we installed gutters and cisterns where the water will be stored.
The system is now complete and has the capacity to collect 45,000 liters of rain per year. But the plan is to keep its storage at 3,000 liters, with the surplus going to water surrounding trees and native plants.
See below for a few photos from our volunteer days — and stay tuned for ways you can get involved in this kind of work.