Water Harvesting Earthworks

Slow it, Spread it, Sink it

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Earthworks: Directing and retaining rainwater for landscape use to support plant growth and reduce municipal water for irrigation, reducing off-site stormwater flow volumes and non-point source pollutants.


  • Increasing plant productivity that may also provide food production and/or wildlife habitat - allows plants to access moisture stored in soil when available; organic mulch reduces evaporation
  • Require no human input or action to function.
  • Typically use rainwater immediately, as it falls, or within a short period.
  • Includes earthworks such as basins, berms, swales, and terracing.



Berms: Raised feature to slow runoff and promote infiltration, or to redirect flow to another water harvesting feature.


Basins: Depressed feature for Collection (Retention/Detention) and Infiltration.


Contour Swales: A combination of an elongated basin with a berm laid out on slight slopes to slow and infiltrate water evenly along the slope.


Diversion Swales: Depressed feature to convey runoff slowly and promote infiltration.

Terraces: Retained feature useful for rapid grade change and increasing plantable area.


Integrated Design:  This is a design process which places water harvesting features in intentional relationships with other site elements and within the natural and human context of the site. It’s goal is to create systems that are interconnected, and whose value and utility are greater than the sum of their parts.

Grow Water Designs, click to enlarge

From this.....

To this in less than a year!

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