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Permaculture Water Management

This advanced permaculture program teaches you the principles of water harvesting that you can use to create functional site designs for water retention and greywater reuse landscapes. 
Note: We encourage you to take the Permaculture Design Certificate Pro program before enrolling in this class so that you have a foundation in Permaculture Design that you can overlay this course content onto.

About the Permaculture Water Management Courses

You will learn about the considerations for creating a Permaculture water retention and reuse landscape in your specific climate. Videos, articles, and exercises will help you understand the diverse applications of Permaculture water management and opportunities to integrate them into home-scale and broad-acre landscapes. 

This program is offered in two sections: a Self-Paced and a Practicum section. 

The Self-Paced portion takes approximately 70 – 100 hours to complete. Please allow at least 10 weeks to complete it before beginning the practicum. 

The Self-Paced section is a prerequisite to enroll in the Practicum and we encourage you to enroll in both at once.

The Practicum is a 20-week course offered in Spring - Summer terms. The Practicum includes 5-8 hours of content per week for a total of 100-160 hours.

Permaculture Water Management Self-Paced Course Description

This program teaches you about assessment, mapping and site designs for installing water retention landscapes using integrated water management strategies. It also introduces assessment and analysis of rainwater runoff patterns and calculation of runoff quantities and water usage amounts.

You will also cover rainwater harvesting cisterns, water harvesting earthworks, and their integration with greywater treatment, passive solar design, and planning for vegetation.

What You'll Learn

After completing this self-paced course, you'll be able to:

  • Define key rainwater harvesting concepts, terms and principles.
  • Understand the process of assessing and analyzing a site for rainwater harvesting.
  • Consider passive and active options for storing rainwater and recycling water in the landscape including earthworks, cisterns, and greywater systems.
  • Reflect on key considerations for hydrating landscapes in climates throughout the world.

See the Self-Paced Course Syllabus for more information

Learning Formats

Designed by Oregon State University, this expert-led course features the following learning formats:

  • Video lectures
  • Multimedia resources
  • Readings
  • Exercises

Note: The Water Management self-study program takes approximately 70 – 100 hours to complete. Please allow at least 10 weeks to complete it before beginning the practicum.

Permaculture Water Management Practicum Course Overview

In the Permaculture Water Management Practicum, you will gather what you learned in the self-paced course to practice integrated permaculture site design based on application of design principles, analysis of water flow and quantity through a site, and assessment of overall site condition. The assignments focus on honing the technical skills necessary to design Permaculture water management systems. While it is not required, we highly encourage participants to use their own site throughout the Practicum, which will result in an initial Integrated Permaculture Water Management Plan for your site. (Note: Alternate site maps are provided if you do not wish to select a site of your own.)

You will investigate maps of different sites and complete design tasks on each map related to the course content. Additionally, you will be guided through the process of creating an Integrated Permaculture Water Management Plan for your own site or another site of your choosing. 

The assignments allow you to apply learned skills like reading contour lines and landscape formations, using spreadsheets to perform rainwater math and calculate water runoff volumes, estimating water use and wastewater generation. Applications include Mapping waterflow through a landscape, conceptualizing wastewater treatment systems, designing passive and active water harvesting systems, and creating Integrated Permaculture Water Management Plans for home-scale and broad-acre sites.


What You'll Learn

After completing the practicum, you'll be able to:

  • Assess a site for water retention potential and water uses.
  • Make strategic decisions about what water management features and systems to use on a site.
  • Design a conceptual integrated plan for a Permaculture water retention landscape for your own site!

See the Practicum Course Syllabus for more information.

Learning Formats

Designed by Oregon State University, this expert-led course features the following learning formats:

  • Video lectures
  • Multimedia resources
  • Readings
  • Exercises
  • Interactive guidance and feedback from an instructor

Scholarship Information

A very limited number of scholarships are available. Preference is given to students who live in countries where the economy makes it very difficult to pay US prices, as well as those from disadvantaged communities.  Applications are due five weeks before the start of the next course.  You will receive notification at least three weeks before the start of the next course.

Please note: you must register for the Self-Paced course before you can enroll in the Practicum. You may apply for a scholarship for the Self-Paced Course and the Practicum at the same time.

Self paced:
On demand. Access any time.
June 24 - December 15, 2024
price (2)
Self paced:$295
Practicum: $895 (+$60 registration fee)

Additional Permaculture Trainings

Permaculture Design Certificate Online

Jun 24-Sep 8, 2024
June 24 - December 15, 2024

Advanced Permaculture Design for Climate Resilience

New dates coming soon!

Permaculture: Rainwater Harvesting Online Course

New dates coming soon!

Permaculture Food Forests Online Course

Self paced:
On demand. Access any time.
September 30 - December 15, 2024


Andrew Millison
Permaculture Design Certificate

Andrew Millison has been studying, designing, building, and teaching about Permaculture systems since 1996 and is an instructor in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University. He instructs Advanced Permaculture Courses in Teaching, and has guest instructed for many Permaculture courses throughout the Western US.

Neil Bertrando

Neil has a passion for enriching bioregions and cultivating ecologies. He holds degrees in Biology and Environmental Science. He is the owner of RT Permaculture, an ecological design and education firm specializing in effective and regenerative landscapes. He has been part of the OSU Permaculture Teaching Team since 2014 and has over a decade of experience in ecological design and watershed restoration, Neil brings a range of skills to his projects including horticulture, irrigation, water harvesting, erosion control, and small scale farm development. Neil’s projects commonly include integrated water harvesting agroforestry systems, homestead production gardens with season extension, medicinal pollinator habitats, and ecological restoration.

Past Students' Work

Take a look at some recent projects our students have created.