Desert Water Harvesting Initiative

Desert Water Harvesting Initiative

About the Desert Water Harvesting Initiative

Throughout the Western US, population growth and expanding urban areas will increase water demand even as climate changes affect supply.  Communities will be challenged to consistently deliver sufficient water to meet demands, obtain additional water supplies, and construct additional infrastructure, all while reserving enough water for the natural environment and for cooling the urban landscape.

Harvesting rainwater and stormwater provides a multitude of benefits, which include water savings, cost savings, reduced flooding, stormwater quality management, habitat enhancement, and reduced urban heat island effects.  For many years, Tucson has been at the forefront of efforts to incorporate water harvesting into water supply and stormwater management practices. As the benefits of water harvesting are recognized, the number and diversity of individuals and agencies exploring its potential has grown, yet most of the work is performed in relative isolation with relatively little organized data and information sharing.

The Water Resources Research Center established the Desert Water Harvesting Initiative in 2014 to enhance outreach and communication among utilities, practitioners of water harvesting, academics, and interested citizens.  To further this effort, DWHI formed the Rainwater-Stormwater Professionals Networks, which met regularly at the WRRC to keep members abreast of current and planned activities, resources, and data. The Network’s activities were taken over by the Low Impact Development Working Group in the Tucson region, which shares information and activities with the Sustainable Cities Network in the Phoenix metropolitan region.

The WRRC continues to maintain a water harvesting expertise directory accessible from the DWHI webpages. These pages also contain notices of upcoming events, desert water harvesting news, and links to useful resources, including the Water Harvesting Assessment Toolbox to help communities to explore the uses and benefits of water harvesting.  

Individual and organizations with news, events, resources, or expertise related to water harvesting, especially in the arid and semi-arid Southwest, are encouraged to contact to join the DWHI information sharing network.

Additional Resources

Desert Water Harvesting Initiative Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events listed.

Questions or comments?

Please contact Susanna Eden at or see the Acknowledgements