Water Management

Our signature approach to water management ensures that every drop is optimally used while respecting the overall health of the watershed. We have decades of experience in designing and building systems that meet the on-site water needs of clients while supporting a healthy hydrological balance over time.

Rainwater harvesting & rooftop catchment

rainwater tank1” of rain drops 1,200 gallons of water on 1 square foot of surface. That means that a 2,000 square foot roof could catch 28,800 gallons of water in a year with 24” of rain. The vast majority of this freshwater is wasted today. We are experts at designing and building roofwater catchment and storage systems that help you make the most of this precious resource. We can assess the suitability of these systems for your needs and help with placement, filtration, post-storage use and storage volume. What’s more, storing rainwater prevents it from overcharging our stormwater runoff system and bringing pollution and sediments to our waterways. We are proud to work hand-in-hand with several Resource Conservation Districts that offer incentives for rainwater harvesting, such as the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District’s Save Our Salmon, Phase II – Salmon Creek Rural Water Conservation Project. Contact us to find out what funding might be available for your project.


Graywater is the “gently used” water that comes out of showers, bathroom sinks and washing machines. It’s no longer potable, but isn’t as dirty as the blackwater coming out of kitchen sinks and toilets that contains potentially noxious biological matter. As such, graywater can be recycled and used for irrigation of most plants (though not some edible ones). Our graywater systems span from the very simple system connecting one outlet (washing machine) to the landscape to a full-on integration of graywater into an automated irrigation system. The system’s controls can also be adapted to a range of tastes, from the tech-savvy among us that may want a fully computerized system to those that prefer only manual controls and everything in between. The technologies have proven their effectiveness and today several counties and municipalities offer incentives to property owners for installing graywater systems.

Water harvesting


Water harvesting is the art of directing water through terraces, seasonal rain gardens and ponds, water-infiltration swales, slow moving waterways, and dry creeks to slow it, spread and sink it. Based on extensive observation of natural waterways, we mimick their meandering tendency and extensive reach. Our water harvesting projects ensure all water falling on a landscape is used optimally, without detriment to the rest of the watershed (Learn more here). Each site is different and it is important to design a water harvesting system that works with the specific constraints and resources of each one. Different techniques will be applied at different scales. Whether you’re in a suburban community or a large-acre rural landscape, at Permaculture Artisans, we know how to assess all the variables of a site to design a well-thought out stormwater management and harvesting plan.

Terraces and water-infiltration swales and rain gardens

Imagine a drop of water rolling down this hillside. As it gains velocity on the smooth decent, it encounters the swale or small ditch, which stops it in its tracks or at least slows it down. Also notice the placement of trees on the low side of the swale, which ensures the harvested water is put to good use: feeding thirsty flora. Without any terracing or swales, the water would continue down the hllside, gaining momentum and moving sediments as it makes its way to a drainage pipe and, eventually, our waterways. As simple as this concept sounds – dig a ditch on contour – proper installation requires in-depth knowledge of hydrology, soils and plant water requirements. At Permaculture Artisans, we apply our decades-long experience with water harvesting projects to create a resilient system for your site.

The potential of this approach is significant. Take the example of our sister organization, the Permaculture Skills Center. The 5-acre teaching farm models roughly 2000 feet of water harvesting features that capture and filter the millions of gallons of water that fall on the property each year. Even during intense rain storms, the water harvesting system is not overloaded and absorbs all the rain that falls on the teaching farm. Come by for a visit and see the system in action!

Ponds, rain gardens and dry creeks

Water can also be stored in ponds and rain gardens or moved around the property in dry creeks. Well-designed seasonal creeks and rain gardens offer the added flexibility of storing and conveying water during wet winter months while at the same time elegantally maintaining important drainage patterns to protect buildings and infrastructure. While specific opportunities vary from site to site, Permaculture Artisans specializes in reading a site’s topography and soil type to identify opportunities to install robust water storage systems. We work with each client to determine the right size, shape and location of water storage for a given site.

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