This water retention infrastructure, designed by Jeff Adams, is part of the landscaping at the Southeast Utah Health Department on Kane Creek Boulevard. [courtesy photo]

The smell of spring in Moab is the smell of parched ground soaking up rain. Instead of having all that precious water seep away, gardeners and landscaping enthusiasts can join local permaculture landscape designer Jeff Adams to learn the art of rainwater collection.

The class is part of The Resiliency Hub’s Tea and a Topic program, cosponsored by Utah State University Extension Sustainability.

“This class will be different from other Tea and Topics in that it is online rather than at our CommuniTea Garden,” said Adams. The change is due to public health considerations, but it also allows those who otherwise couldn’t attend to participate via Zoom.

“The other big difference is that because it is online it provides the opportunity to show some slides/pictures of various rainwater harvesting systems and methods,” Adams said. There will be ample time for questions from participants eager to create waters systems at their own homes.

Attendees can join the May 28 class at 6:30 p.m.; details for the Zoom meeting can be found on the Resiliency Hub’s Facebook page. Registration is not required for this free event.

Adams is the owner of TerraSophia, a local ecological design and landscaping business.

“I first got into playing with rainwater as a kid waiting for the bus at the bottom of the road, making little dams and channels with the runoff,” he said. The same basic techniques children naturally use are also used in many passive rainwater harvesting systems: building swales and gardens to help channel and store rainwater where it can nourish plants.

Rainwater harvesting became legal in Utah in 2010, and each single residential lot can now harvest and hold up to 2,500 gallons of water at any given time.

Adamas began learning rainwater harvesting techniques in 2000, working on a roof water catchment system as a student at Humboldt State University.

“Since then I have taken a whole bunch of trainings, obtained professional certifications, developed and taught professional level and homeowner trainings, and incorporated rainwater harvesting into my business services,” said Adams, who estimated that he’s worked on over 40 roof water systems and hundreds of passive water harvesting earthworks.

Adams has held a series of workshops focusing on how to apply permaculture principles in Moab, stemming from his deep passion for paying attention to the land.

“Permaculture is usually kind of thought of as gardening, but it’s really a bigger picture design process,” said Adams. “It draws on a lot of traditional ecological knowledge, on a lot of science, and on a lot of tools and techniques that are found in other disciplines: organic agriculture, forestry, hydrology.”

Free class teaches rainwater harvesting techniques

Online Tea and a Topic: Rainwater Harvesting

May 28 at 6:30 p.m.

Join the class on Zoom, details at