KGUN 9NewsAZ Drought


Tucson Water Harvesters share tips for native landscaping to save water and money

Conserve water while keeping a beautiful yard
Posted at 4:41 PM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 07:23:58-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9) — Looming water shortages on the Colorado River have many people thinking about conserving water.

“If each homeowner harvested rainwater on site, then that would make the river flowing down the street less,” said Tucson Water Harvesters Member Sara Birtalan.

Birtalan says a few techniques can help you conserve water while keeping a beautiful yard.

“Rainwater is such an amazing resource, and so why let it run away down the street? Capture it and use it for the plants you want.”

She says native plants thrive in our environment and do not need irrigation after they are established. Contoured landscaping slows rushing water and gives it time to soak into the soil. You can maximize the moisture content by adding mulch on top.

“Also adding grasses to your basins so the roots act like straws and let the water in,” she said.

Rainwater can also be actively harvested from your roof and into a cistern. That water can be used for non-native plants or a vegetable garden.

Birtalan says one inch of rain on her roof can give her system 1,600 gallons of water.

“The rebates from Tucson Water are pretty fantastic,” she said. “There is a $2,000 rebate for a tank system and a $500 rebate for doing a passive basin system in your yard.

Birtalan says harvesting rainwater and using native plants makes her feel connected to the desert she lives in.

“See what amazing plants grow here and how beautiful they are."

Brian Brennan’s fascination with weather began as a kid in Arizona watching the intense thunderstorms during monsoon. He has covered major breaking news, court trials, Nellis Air Force Base, and has put himself at the center of many weather events.