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2021 Fall Newsletter

Cover of 2021 Fall WMG Newsletter

10th Annual Desert Living Home Tour Demonstrates Tangible Models for Hydro-Local Future

This year, the first-ever water shortage was declared for the Colorado River, a river that is the principal water supply for many Western cities. While this is grim news, we know it is possible to thrive in the desert without relying on distant watersheds—and the homes and community spaces along the 10th Annual Desert Living Home Tour were proof!

We at WMG believe in a future with climate resilient cities and communities that thrive in harmony with our natural environment. Our cities, neighborhoods, schools, and homes can harvest solar energy and become hydro-local—our word for making use of local, renewable water sources like rainwater, greywater, and annually-renewed groundwater instead of sucking distant rivers and watersheds dry.

The 10th Annual Desert Living Home Tour was a celebration and demonstration of spaces that embody this renewable, hydro-local vision, and by providing public access to these demonstration sites, we begin to remove barriers to the knowledge and technologies, old and new, that make sustainable living in the desert possible.

The tour did a good job of showing that sustainability doesn’t have to be fancy,” said participant Jessica Radford. We made sure the tour was more accessible this year; WMG offered a sliding scale fee structure, where participants paid what they were able or chose to attend the tour for free. With a record of 437 attendees at this year’s tour, we were thrilled to see so much enthusiasm about hydro-local living!

The 13 homes and five community spaces along the tour showcased ways to live in cooperation with the desert and produce resources instead of just consuming them—through water and solar harvesting, gardening with native and heritage plants, and composting and mulching with on-site resources.

One primary goal of the home tour was to provide inspiration and resources for people to take action at home. And we’re seeing great results!

91% of surveyed participants have plans to implement sustainable projects at their home as a result of the tour, with rain gardens, rain tanks, and expanded native habitat being some of the most popular planned actions.

WMG’s Living Lab and Learning Center was a popular site on the tour, with many visitors arriving on bike, thanks to its central location and easy access along a bike route. To continue offering opportunities to visit throughout the year, we have expanded tours at the Living Lab, including English and Spanish audio tours during the week and docent-led tours on Saturdays.

Every system, big or small, is a step toward our communities utilizing local and renewable water and energy sources—steps on the path away from dependence on dirty energy and distant watersheds, and towards a sustainable future that creates connection and abundance throughout our desert communities and watersheds. In these pages, we hope you'll find inspiration and resources to take the next step to living hydro-local.