News Brief

Create an Oasis with Greywater and Builder's Greywater Guide

by Art Ludwig, 1997. Published by Oasis Design, 5 San Marcos Trout Club, Santa Barbara, CA 93105; 805/967-9956; 805/967-3229 (fax); Paperback, 48 pages each; Create an Oasis with Greywater, $9.95; Builder’s Greywater Guide, $14.95 (plus $2 shipping for either or both)

Illustration fromCreate an Oasis with Greywatershowing an ingenious siphon system for graywater surge tanks. The booklet cautions that getting this design to work properly can be tricky.

These two manuals, updated in 1997, provide practical, down-to-earth information on graywater system design and construction. While graywater collection and use makes a great deal of sense in many areas (see EBN Vol. 4, No. 2), there have been few places to turn for good information on how to put systems in place. Art Ludwig and his Oasis Design satisfy that need.

Create an Oasis with Greywater provides an overview of the issues involved with graywater recovery and use, including definitions, advantages of using graywater, when to avoid using graywater, health and safety issues, plants to avoid when using graywater irrigation, and a wealth of information on the components and design of a wide range of graywater systems—from simple “dishpan-dump” operations to complex, fully automated systems. Related aspects of sustainable water use are addressed on one of the detailed appendices, including an examination of the household water cascade, rainwater harvesting, and composting toilets.

While Create an Oasis is directed primarily toward the user, the Builder’s Greywater Guide addresses graywater systems from the perspective of builders and design professionals. It serves as an excellent supplement to Create an Oasis, focusing on how to work with clients in selecting graywater systems, how to calculate irrigation demand, and how to work through the confusing regulatory issues. Considerable coverage is given to California’s first-in-the-nation graywater law, including its full text with highly useful annotations. These annotations—with arrows to relevant passages in the text—clarify confusing passages, highlight important points, and fill in information that may not be obvious to those not used to wading through legal documents.

The manuals are produced inexpensively with simple, clear illustrations and no photos. The writing style is concise, straightforward, and friendly, yet not condescending. It is remarkable how much information was packed into these two short publications, which can be read in a sitting. Together, the manuals are a must-read for anyone planning, designing, or building a graywater system—building professionals and homeowners alike.



Published August 1, 1998

(1998, August 1). Create an Oasis with Greywater and Builder's Greywater Guide. Retrieved from

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a BuildingGreen Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.