Rainwater harvesting in the San Francisco region: Brock Dolman fosters "watershed moments" for hundreds



Brock Dolman is a watershed poet and advocate, though he didn’t set out to be either. After studying biology and environmental studies at Un iversity of California Santa Cruz, Dolman was working with endangered species when he experienced his “watershed moment.”

Today, as the director of the WATER Institute at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center in Sonoma County, Dolman fosters watershed moments for the hundreds who attend his lectures or workshops each year.

The water institute in sonoma county - brock dolman (160p)Brock Dolman gives 50 to 60 talks a year to groups ranging from the Audubon Society to the Rotary Club, where he attempts to increase understanding of how water moves through urban and rural landscapes and how humans can participate wisely in its course.

Dolman and his co-workers teach workshops on how to install rain gardens and roof water harvesting systems, how to reduce sediment flow into creeks and rivers (which compromises fish habitat while washing valuable topsoil downstream) and how to mend eroding waterways. The Water Institute’s signature four-day “Basins of Relations” seminar promotes collective action.

To read the complete story as written by Deborah K. Rich and published online by the San Francisco Chronicle, please click here.

About the WATER Institute

In 2004 the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center (OAEC) in Sonoma County  established the WATER Institute (Watershed Advocacy, Training, Education & Research) to promote an understanding of the importance of healthy watersheds to healthy communities. OAEC’s WATER Institute builds upon their many years of regional watershed research, restoration, advocacy, community organizing, and activism.

The activities of the WATER Institute are guided by the principles of Conservation Hydrology, an applied science being pioneered by OAEC and characterized by the following key concepts:

  • Human development decisions must be mindful of the need to move from a “dehydration model” to a “rehydration model.” It is essential that all development agendas insure the health of watersheds and the availability of water.
  • Land use management strategies must thoroughly analyze the impact of human activities on the functioning hydrologic cycle, and how these impacts affect species, communities and ecosystem dynamics.
  • Democratic, regionally controlled decision-making processes are essential for the preservation and protection of diverse, vigorous, resilient ecosystems and hydrological systems.

WATER Institute program offerings include: Stormwater Harvesting; Roof Water Catchment; and Basins of Relations: Starting and Sustaining Watershed Groups.