“It never snows in Tucson. It doesn’t even rain much – about 11 inches a year – so precipitation of any kind makes Tucsonans a little giddy. But the light in [Brad] Lancaster’s eyes is different. He sees water falling from the sky as the key to his city’s future; nothing less than its salvation.
“To understand why, you have to understand a little known fact about today’s world: much of it is running out of fresh water.
“Seen from space, the earth may be hued the deep blue of the sea, a water planet, seven-tenths covered by oceans. But only three percent of the earth’s water is freshwater, and most of that is locked up in glaciers of the ice caps. Less than one percent is usable freshwater.
“From the American Southwest to the Middle East and onwards to China, the human race is drawing down the freshwater supply far faster than nature can replenish it.”
So begins the online text of American Oasis, a new multimedia work focused on the story of water in Tucson, including the work of Brad Lancaster and other locals who are working to revive and build on the the traditions and heritage of water-harvesting in the American Southwest.
Produced by Kogainon Films in collaboration with the International Traditional Knowledge Institute/UNESCO (ITKI), the Tucson Desert Oasis Initiative at the University of Arizona, the Heritage Channel, and the Maria Nobrega Foundation.
For more information, visit Kogainon’s American Oasis page.
Brad Lancaster is a dynamic teacher, consultant, and designer of regenerative systems. He is the author of the award-winning, best-selling books Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, the information-packed website www.HarvestingRainwater.com, and the Drops in a Bucket Blog. He lives his talk on an oasis-like eighth of an acre in downtown Tucson, Arizona, by harvesting over 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year where just 12 inches per year falls from the sky.