This 11-minute video explores how people in India, Zimbabwe and the Southwest United States are rediscovering ancient rainwater harvesting practices to address water sustainability. Although the need for water is greatest in drought-stricken areas of the world, Brad Lancaster, a rainwater harvesting advocate, argues that simple practices can benefit anyone in any place. In this lesson, students explore the issue of water sustainability by examining the distribution of fresh water on Earth and using a physical model to simulate the implementation of rainwater harvesting practices.
Fighting Drought With an Ancient Practice: Harvesting the Rain
Ancient methods of collecting and storing rainwater are being used to address severe drought today.
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.
- Producer: Kit R. Roane
- Editor: Heru Muharrar
- Associate Producer: Manuel Cuéllar
- Field Producer: Sadiq Naqvi
Students will explore the issue of water sustainability by examining the distribution of fresh water on Earth and using a physical model to simulate the implementation of rainwater harvesting practices.
- Examine human and climatic factors that influence the sustainability of water resources.
- Define water sustainability
- Describe the benefits of rainwater harvesting (decentralized, groundwater recharging, climate change mitigation)
- Explore visualizations to understand how the availability of fresh water resources is affected by natural variations in weather, changes in climate, and human activities that use water.
- Compare and contrast the rainwater harvesting methods used in India and the Southwest United States.
- Explain the difference between permeable and impermeable surfaces influence water availability
- Construct a physical model to simulate the effect of implementing rainwater harvesting on water sustainability
- What makes a resource sustainable?
- How does water flow through the environment?
- Why is water scarce in some areas of the world?
- How do we model a water budget?
- How can rainwater harvesting affect water sustainability?
- Transcript for “Fighting Drought With an Ancient Practice: Harvesting the Rain” (Retro Report)
- Future of Water (Retro Report)
- United Nations Sustainable Development – Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all (The United Nations)
- Water Harvesting (Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands & Beyond)
- BYOB Build Your Own Basin (Watershed Management Group)
- Arizona Project WET (The University of Arizona)
- Modeling the Water Budget (NASA: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
- Welcome to Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood Foresters! (Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood Foresters)
- Rubric: Sentence Patterns (Retro Report)
- One-Pager Templates (Retro Report)
- Sentence Patterns (Retro Report)
- Next Generation Science Standards
- MS-ESS2-4:Earth’s Systems: Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
- MS-ESS2-1:Earth’s Systems: Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
- MS-ETS1-4:Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
- HS-ESS3-1:Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
- HS-ESS3-6:Earth and Human Activity: Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
- HS-ETS1-1:Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
- AP Environmental Science
- STB-1:Humans can mitigate their impact on land and water resources through sustainable use.
- Topic 5.12: Introduction to Sustainability
- STB-1.A: Explain the concept of sustainability.
- STB-1.A.1: Sustainability refers to humans living on Earth and their use of resources without depletion of the resources for future generations. Environmental indicators that can guide humans to sustainability include biological diversity, food production, average global surface temperatures and CO2 concentrations, human population, and resource depletion.
- STB-1.A.2: Sustainable yield is the amount of a renewable resource that can be taken without reducing the available supply.
- Topic 5.13: Methods to Reduce Runoff
- STB-1.B: Describe methods for mitigating problems related to urban runoff.
- STB-1.B.1: Methods to increase water infiltration include replacing traditional pavement with permeable pavement, planting trees, increased use of public transportation, and building up, not out.
- National Council for the Social Studies C3 Framework
- D2.Geo.3.6-8.Use paper based and electronic mapping and graphing techniques to represent and analyze spatial patterns of different environmental and cultural characteristics.
- D2.Geo.3.9-12.Use geographic data to analyze variations in the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics at multiple scales.
- D2.Geo.4.9-12.Analyze relationships and interactions within and between human and physical systems to explain reciprocal influences that occur among them.
- D2.Geo.10.6-8.Analyze the ways in which cultural and environmental characteristics vary among various regions of the world.
- D4.1.6-8.Construct arguments using claims and evidence from multiple sources, while acknowledging the strengths and limitations of the arguments.
- D4.4.6-8.Critique arguments for credibility.
- D4.4.9-12.Critique the use of claims and evidence in arguments for credibility.
- Common Core State Standards
- CSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.1:Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.2:Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.7:Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1:Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2:Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.7:Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.9:Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
What makes an effective citizen? This lesson offers a set of questions to connect students’ prior knowledge to the theme of citizenship by examining the attributes and actions of effective citizens. Students will watch a film about water harvesting to examine human influence on water collection and drainage, and design a one-pager to synthesize and visually present what they have learned.
- Explain the responsibilities and duties of all individuals (citizens and noncitizens) in a republic.
- Discuss and analyze the attributes and actions of an effective citizen.
- Examine human influence on water collection and drainage.
What makes an effective citizen?
- Transcript for “Fighting Drought With an Ancient Practice: Harvesting the Rain” (Retro Report)
- 4 Tagboards with the 4 lesson questions written on top
- 4 colored markers
- Variation: Prepared posters with brainstorm answers on them (accommodation)
- 1-Pager Templates (Design: Alex Remnick), Retro Report
- Standard 8 ½ x 11 sheets of unlined paper
- D2.Civ.2.3-5. Explain how a democracy relies on people’s responsible participation, and draw implications for how individuals should participate.
- D2.Civ.6.3-5. Describe ways in which people benefit from and are challenged by working together, including through government, workplaces, voluntary organizations, and families.
- D2.Civ.10.3-5. Identify the beliefs, experiences, perspectives, and values that underlie their own and others’ points of view about civic issues.
- D2.Civ.14.3-5. Illustrate historical and contemporary means of changing society.
- D2.Eco.2.3-5. Identify positive and negative incentives that influence the decisions people make.
- D2.Geo.4.3-5. Explain how culture influences the way people modify and adapt to their environments.
- D4.7.3-5. Explain different strategies and approaches students and others could take in working alone and together to address local, regional, and global problems, and predict possible results of their actions.
- D2.Civ.7.9-12. Apply civic virtues and democratic principles when working with others.
- D2.Civ.14.9-12. Analyze historical, contemporary, and emerging means of changing societies, promoting the common good, and protecting rights.
- D2.Civ.12.9-12. Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
- D2.Geo.4.9-12. Analyze relationships and interactions within and between human and physical systems to explain reciprocal influences that occur among them.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.