Rainwater Harvesting: Why Should Red Deer Care?

This free seminar is made possible with funding from Alberta Environment and Parks' "Watershed Restoration and Resiliency Program" in support of ReThink Red Deer's "ReFraming the WaterShed" project.


In this seminar presentation, followed by interactive Q&A, Dr. Peter Coombes and Michelle Avis discuss and share insights from Peter’s lifetime of research in “Systems Frameworks” and the idea that the cumulative impacts and concerns at the city-scale are directly correlated (and impacted) by the policies and water management practices at the individual household.

When a municipality chooses to focus its policies and encourages improved water management practices at the individual household or building (such as rooftop rainwater harvesting and onsite stormwater management) there are enormous benefits for the public in reduced costs, reduced wastage, greater resilience and increased engagement with natural systems.  

They will also discuss and touch on many myths and misconceptions about rainwater harvesting.

Dr. Peter Coombes
Dr. Peter Coombes
Dr. Peter J. Coombes is a Systems Thinker, Scientist, Engineer, Economist, Problem Solver and Policy Analyst, a provider of alternative perspective, and a designer of sustainable cities, projects and buildings. Coombes is a director of Urban Water Cycle Solutions and is currently an editor of the Urban Book of Australian Rainfall and Runoff.

He was awarded the 2018 GN Alexander Medal for scientific contributions to Hydrology and Water Resources and the 2019 Presidents Medal for his role as a lead editor in Australian Rainfall and Runoff. Peter holds a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and degrees in Civil Engineering (honours) and Surveying (Honours). He has also almost completed a B. Econ/Dip. Law qualification.

Peter was most recently the Associate Dean (Education) and Professor of Water Resources Engineering at Southern Cross University. He is a Member of Systems Research Steering Committee at Imperial College London and is an editor the Urban Book of Australian Rainfall and Runoff published by Engineers Australia. He has held senior academic positions at University of Newcastle, University of Melbourne and Swinburne University. Peter was a Chief Scientist in the Victorian Government and recently contributed to inquiries into stormwater management and flooding by the Senate of the Australian Parliament and into water resources by the Productivity Commission.

Michelle Avis
Michelle Avis

After pursuing international training and certifications in renewable energy and regenerative design, as well as a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Michelle, along with her husband and business partner Rob, began Verge Permaculture, now a globally-recognized and award-winning design, consulting, and education company. Since then, they’ve helped more than 1000 students and a growing number of clients to design and/or create integrated systems for shelter, energy, water, waste and food, all while supporting local economy and regenerating the land.

Their consulting firm, Adaptive Habitat is a property design & project management firm that creates resilient homes, acreages and farms for landowners, preserving tangible and enduring wealth by integrating innovative technology, engineered solutions and ecological design. She loves the complexity of working through holistic design challenges to create resilient, eco-sustainable homes, acreages and farms that produce their own energy and food, harvest water, cycle nutrients and restore the surrounding ecosystems. By integrating innovative technology with sound design, they engineer creative solutions that bring a positive benefit to the environments in which people live and thereby thrive.

Coupled with a deep connection to nature and a passion for growing nutrient-dense food, Michelle’s driving goal is to ensure that her work and actions leave this world a better place for future generations to inherit.