Water Conservation

Demonstration of Innovative Technologies

Desert Rainwater Harvesting - Sponsored by:  Pueblo of Isleta

Desert Rainwater Harvesting utilizes simple methods to catch rainwater on rooftops and divert it to Xeriscape gardens. Xeriscape is an attractive, sustainable landscape that conserves water and is based on sound horticultural practices. The most unique and salient feature of these Isleta gardens is that they will be passively nourished by artfully captures rainwater runoff. The gardens will feature indigenous plants traditionally used by Native and Hispano peoples, with interpretive signage to explain the plants. Hand-made terra-cotta pots, called Ollas, will be buried in the ground to catch rainwater and "sweat" this moisture to plant roots. Ceramic tiles, placed on the front columns of the Recreation Center, will list tribal words for water.

The project is interdisciplinary and intergenerational in scope with involvement of traditional tribal elders, community members, youth, elementary school teachers, University of New Mexico graduate students and professors, film makers and artists. We also have deep involvement from Project Venture, an organization to help instill pride and traditional values in Pueblo youth.

Sharing the documentation of Desert Rainwater Harvesting will plant seeds of similar low-tech solutions in other communities through dissemination of a booklet to be produced by project participants. The project will also be fully documented on video, which will be made available to the public and shown on Public Television.

The two co-leaders are: renowned Santa Clara Pueblo film maker, Dr. Beverly Singer, Director of the Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies; and Professor Basia Irland, who is invited to lecture and work internationally on water projects.

Contact: Bureau of Reclamation, Albuquerque Area Office: (505) 462-3578.

Activities and Accomplishments

Last Updated: 4/5/17