Learn all the ways to slow, sink, spread, and store water on your permaculture property

Discover many types of rainwater harvesting system, including rain barrels, swales, drains, and dams –
and choose the right combination for your property. And see how you can make your water use less wasteful and more multi-functional.

This complete, extensive course is all about harvesting rainwater, and the difference it can make to you, your property, and the planet.


the skills you will gain in this self-paced online course:

  • Appreciate why preserving and using fresh water efficiently is so important
  • Understand how rainwater harvesting can be used in all environments – urban and rural
  • Be able to easily implement your own rain barrel catchment system
  • Appreciate the steps required in construction, and their individual purpose
  • Learn about the conditions and locations suitable for cistern systems
  • Know how all the constituent parts of a cistern system combine
  • Appreciate the benefit of wicking beds in urban and small-scale locations
  • Discover how infiltration basins and trees combine for effective water use
  • Understand how soil type will impact upon the efficiency of an infiltration basin
  • Know how to site, plan and integrate a swale system on your permaculture plot
  • Discover the relative benefits of different types of earthworks for runoff catchment
  • Find out what a French drain is and what its advantages are
  • Appreciate the circumstances in which a French drain is a viable option
  • Discover what a check dam is and how it works with organic matter
  • Know what check dams can be made from and how to site them for maximum effectiveness
  • Discover how cities can take measures to catch rainfall runoff
  • Consider the pros and cons of permeable pavement materials
  • Understand how a range of factors feed into your rainwater catchment design
  • Learn how soil, slope, planting, and topography will impact on your design
  • Consider how overflow from a rainwater system can be managed to avoid waste
  • Appreciate how easy getting started with rainwater harvesting can be
  • Understand how capturing rainwater contributes to a better world

By catching rainwater and putting it to use we avoid wasting any of the planet’s supply of fresh water that falls on our property – and help improve the global water cycle in the process. Because the fact is that only around 1 per cent of the planet’s water is fresh, and only about half of that amount is actually available as the moisture that keeps all life processes on Earth functioning.

Water circulates through ecosystems continually, on a micro, local and global level. In this permaculture course we explore how anyone can make water use on their property more efficient and more beneficial to the soil, plants and animals that depend on it, and so in turn contribute to the preservation of this valuable – but finite – resource.

You’ll also be introduced to the general goals of rainwater harvesting techniques – which is to slow, spread, sink or store water that comes onto your property.

Then you’ll discover the multitude of ways that rainwater harvesting can be done. These range from the simplest method of placing a barrel under the downspout of your guttering through to installing more large-scale harvesting systems in the landscape. The techniques we’ll explore are:

• Rain barrels
• Cistern systems
• Wicking beds
• Infiltration basins
• Swales
• French drains
• Check dams

We’ll explain how each design strategy works to catch, divert and use rainwater, and we’ll show you how the principles behind rainwater harvesting can also be used for catchment systems from the smallest plot to the largest – and beyond.

You will be given the instructions, hints and tips you need to get started harvesting rainwater on your own property, using any or all of the above techniques. Importantly, there is guidance on the things you need to analyze when making decisions about appropriate systems.

You’ll learn how to read the way water already reacts with the landscape of your property so that you can utilize that and plan an appropriate harvesting technique that saves on energy and works in harmony with nature. You’ll also be given tips on the kind of things to research when planning a harvesting system, such as zoning requirements and building foundations.

You’ll also find practical steps to putting harvesting techniques in place, a list of the equipment and materials you will need for each of them, advice on maintaining them, and guidance on maximizing the benefits on your property – from irrigation methods to improving soil structure. There is also comprehensive guidance on how to store, treat and use your harvested rainwater to ensure that it is safe for your plants, livestock and your family to use.

By way of contrast, this course also gives you insight into some of the ways that modern societies not only waste fresh water, but also threaten the viability of the supply that we do have. You’ll learn about the effect that common practices such as monoculture agriculture and fracking have on the water cycle, and how they could spell trouble for us all.

Build your self-sufficiency skills with a self-paced online learning experience