Brad Lancaster

Brad Lancaster is a permaculture designer, teacher, and consultant who has become one of permaculture's leading experts on rainwater harvesting and water management.

Brad lives in the Sonoran desert in downtown Tucson, Arizona.  In this arid climate which receives 12 inches of rain each year, Brad has developed systems that harvest roughly 100,000 gallons of water each year on a very small 1/8 acre lot.

Image of Brad Lancaster

By Amelia Oshay - Peronal, Public Domain, Link

Brad Lancaster - Background and Experience

Brad Lancaster ​graduated from the University of Arizona in 1991 with a bachelor of the arts degree with an emphasis in anthropology.  He completed his first permaculture design certification course in 1993 at the Permaculture Drylands Institute (now Permaculture Institute USA) near Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Brad went on to complete the Permaculture Drylands Institute's advanced design course in 1994 and the patterning design course in 1995.  In 1996, he completed Max Lindegger's eco-village design course at the Earthworks Institute.

Brad Lancaster Publications

Brad Lancaster is best known for his 2-part series Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond.  His goal for both books was to create an easily accessible knowledge base that would empower beginners and people without formal training to create powerful water collection and retention designs in their own yards and gardens.  The series has been very successful since its launch, and is widely considered to be the best resource available about permaculture rainwater harvesting techniques.

The first book in the series, Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1: Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life and Landscape, was published in 2006 with a revised second edition released in 2013.  This work focuses on the general principles of permaculture rainwater harvesting and introduces the reader to a wide array of proven techniques and concepts. 

The second work in the series, Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2: Water-Harvesting Earthworks, focuses on methods for shaping the existing land to passively harvest and conserve various sources of water.  This book thoroughly covers the effects of rainwater harvesting on the landscape, the wildlife, the local climate, and the ecosystem as a whole.

I believe we all can become beneficial stewards of the land, and partners in the ecosystem in which we live, and I believe that by harvesting water – and more – we can all begin to transform our households and neighborhoods from being consumers of resources to generators – and even regenerators – of resources.

– Brad Lancaster

Brad Lancaster Work with Municipalities

Some of Brad Lancaster's most influential work has been done in conjunction with various municipal governments.  He has been one of permaculture's most active ambassadors, educating local governments and encouraging them to take up some of permaculture's proven concepts and methods.

Brad has participated in citizen advisory committees to revise policies regarding greywater, irrigation, and rainwater harvesting in his home in Tucson, AZ.  He served as a consultant to draft guidelines for rainwater, greywater, and storm water harvesting in Los Angeles, CA.  He has done similar work in Asheville, NC; Flagstaff, AZ; San Juan Capistrano, CA; Berkeley, CA; La Paz and Ciudad Obregon in Mexico; and the city of Mashhad in Iran. 

Image of Brad Lancaster touring a thriving desert ecosystem

Photo credit: nicolas.boullosa via / CC BY

Where to Learn More About Brad Lancaster

To learn more about Brad, check out his rainwater harvesting books Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Brad also maintains a website that includes a ton of great information about harvesting water and other natural resources, along with all of his resume materials and credentials.  You can find it all at

Related Resources