Ancient methods of collecting and storing rainwater are being used to address severe drought today.

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Fighting Drought With an Ancient Practice: Harvesting the Rain

Producer: Kit R. Roane
Associate Producer: Manuel Cuéllar
Field Producer: Sadiq Naqvi

Could rainwater play a role in alleviating drought? Conservation experts are reaching back to the past, reviving ancient farming practices from across the globe to collect and store stormwater. In India, a former physician is teaching villagers how to dig a large pit, or johad, to capture monsoon rains and recharge the aquifers for the dry season. His work has reshaped the destiny of large swaths of India, and his teachings have spread far beyond that nation’s borders. In Tucson, an environmental activist is showing his neighbors how to make curb cuts, adapting a skill long used by indigenous people in the region to divert rainwater to their crops and gardens.

This video was produced in collaboration with Scientific American, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Check out Brad Lancaster's free resources on how to harvest rainwater and build sustainable neighborhoods at and

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