Students arrive for educational farm tour

WORKSHOPS - Rainwater Harvest & Storage

Learn how to capture and store rainwater for later use during dry periods.

As local rainfall patterns become more erratic and unreliable,* crop irrigation for the farmer or homesteader is becoming a necessity. Unless you are fortunate enough to live alongside a river or large creek, or have an everlasting spring gushing forth on your land, then rainwater collection is your only economically viable option. We have long-term experience in building and using rainwater collection systems to suppoprt our agricultural endeavors. The following workshops are designed to make you proficient in this timeless art.

Rainwater Harvesting & Storage  Basic Course 101 (One drop at a time )

This daylong workshop is a primer course on creating an agricultural or homestead water plan, rainwater collection techniques and the fabrication and maintenance of rainwater collection systems.

It covers the following topics:
    •     A basic discussion on the long history of rainwater collection and ther multiple uses of captured rainwater. Includes recycling household gray and black water.

    •     Safe water storage principles-Includes resource allocation, maintaining water quality, evaporation rates, and mosquito control.   

    •     Calculating rain volume yields from roof areas and impermeable hard surfaces.   

    •     Using and fabricating gravity-fed water transfer systems (gutters, pipes & hoses) for storage and end use.     

    •    The ethical considerations toward other water users competing for the same rain runoff.

    •     Cistern  and water tank placement and the different types of water tanks or cistern materials in use (steel, polyethelyne, stone and ferro-cement.)

    •     Mapping the watershed - This segment involves a walk-about explanatory tour of our farm watershed and the multiple drainages directing rain runoff flow.

    •     Pond and reservoir site placement and construction. Includes in-drainage pond placement, identifying useable soil types, using pond liners, constructing swales and berms, and other land shaping (for enhanced water movement) using dredged soil placement.

    •     And much, much more!




    "I think I knew that it was necessary to prioritize how one uses collected rainwater, but I had not previously considered the concept of budgeting for this. It frames the idea much differently for me and causes me to be even more deliberate in my stewardship. I came away with a greater sense of responsibility involved in collecting and then re-distributing rainwater."
                            Rachel Swinney, Knoxville, TN  (March-2008) workshop participant

For more information or to register for this workshop, please go to the Workshop Schedule page.




Rainwater Harvesting & Storage – Advanced Course

    •    This two-day workshop is a hands-on experience of actually creating a small rainwater-fed pond.

    •    Participants will work through the actual steps of siting, soil sampling, and hand carving a 300-500 gallon storage pond. Also includes landscaping techniques to appropriately deal with the dugout soils.

    •    The workshop is designed to give participants the confidence to either hand or machine dig a larger storage pond on their own farm or homestead.

    •    Includes an early morning lesson / trip on the dam impounded Tennessee River (Watts Bar Reservoir) aboard the Emma Bell and Betty L Martin hand crafted - hand powered, pontoon "teaching raft."

    •    Rainwater Collection 101 is a prerequisite for this advanced course.

For more information or to register for this workshop, please go to theWorkshop Schedule page.