We all take water for granted. It is one of those natural resources that most people do not put a lot of thought into, but to continue enjoying that free supply of water for many more years, changes must be made.
It is no news that water scarcity is one of the main problems facing the world today. There will be about 1 billion more mouths worldwide by 2025. Global agriculture and food alone will require another 1 trillion cubic meters of water per year.
Because one cannot look at such statistics, we need to find solutions to this problem. One of such solutions is Rainwater Harvesting (RWH). According to the WHO standards, every person living in cities should get 135 litres per capita per day. The reality, however, is that most people don’t even get 10 litres per capita per day.
Monsoon has already arrived in most parts of India, and we have wasted precious amount of rainwater that could have been the answer to the present water crisis in the country.
Why Collect Rainwater?
Over the years, rainwater harvesting has gained grounds, especially in developing countries where water scarcity is frequent, making rainwater one of the significant sources of water for many.
- First and foremost, rainwater harvesting allows you to control your water supply allowing self-sufficiency and water conservation.
- Rainwater Harvesting is an environmentally responsible and socially acceptable source of water.
- Also, rainwater is a free and relatively clean source of water.
- Because of its lack of chlorine, rainwater is ideal for landscape gardens and plants.
- Rainwater Harvesting also helps in reducing runoffs and solving drainage problems while giving you unrestricted access to free and clean water.
- It is an inexpensive and easy-to-maintain source of water.
- RWH systems can be adapted to fit into any existing structure or constructed while building a new home.
Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting
The collection and numerous rainwater use come with a plethora of benefits. Some of these benefits are discussed below.
It Acts as a Backup Water Source
Water supply systems each have their uncertainties and sporadically need repair and maintenance. However, a well-built and proper RWH system in place will allow you access to an alternative source of water for other households/business purposes while saving the little potable water for drinking and cooking.
Easy to Maintain
Utilizing the rainwater harvesting system provides certain advantages to the community. First of all, harvesting rainwater allows us to use an energy resource better. It is important to do so since drinking water is not easily renewable, and it helps in reducing wastage. Systems for the collection of rainwater are based on simple technology.
Reduces Floods and Soil Erosion
Most RWH systems used to provide water to buildings feature built-in catchment areas around the rooftop which usually are capable of collecting and storing vast amounts of water. By collecting this water, flooding and soil erosion is greatly reduced since there is a reduction in the flow of water.
Practical Uses of Rainwater Harvesting
Farming and landscaping
Farming and landscaping are two very important human activities that use up enormous amounts of water. Rainwater Harvesting provides a less costly and more eco-friendly source of water for these activities. Rainwater is ideal for farming especially because of the absence of chlorine or any other chemicals which may prove harmful to plants and animals. It can also offer an alternative source of water for the watering of lawns, plants, gardens, and filling up of swimming pools. Also, as has been discussed earlier, rainwater harvesting helps prevent erosion and flooding by reducing the flow of water.
Can be Used for Several Non-drinking Purposes
Rainwater, when collected, can be used for several non-drinking functions including flushing toilets, washing clothes, watering the garden, washing cars etc. It is unnecessary to use pure drinking water if all we need to use it for some other purpose rather than drinking.
Rainwater Harvesting Methods
Barrel installation is the cheapest and easiest way to start harvesting rainwater in your home. It can be installed underneath the downspout of the guttering so that rain falling on the roof is funnelled into the barrel. If you opt for the recycled barrel, make a point to know exactly what the barrel was used for to be sure that no chemical residues remain inside. If you reside in a mosquito-infested area, make sure to include a lid for your barrel to mitigate the possibility of mosquitoes breeding in your barrel. When winter month knocks, it is advisable to disconnect your barrel to prevent freezing and cracking.
This method of rainwater harvesting cuts out the middleman. Also, installing a green roof will add insulation to your house and cushion your roof from damage. If you prefer, you can create your barrels for rainwater harvesting. Just a few components like Catchment area, conveyance system, first rain separator, filter unit, storage, delivery system, usage, recharge and supplies, are needed to create your barrel. You will need to follow the instructions included with your rainwater harvesting kit to set things up and begin a collection of the rainwater. You can take advantage of the information whenever you need to and create your rainwater harvesting system.
Considered by many to be an upgraded version of the rain barrel system, this technique features a container larger in volume than the rain barrel usually located a few meters from the property. It referred to as the “dry” system because, after rainfall, the pipes get dry since all the water empties into the top of the tank. Advantages of this method include more extensive storage preventing flooding in case of heavy rainfall and secure implementation and inexpensive to install.
The wet system is the exact opposite of the dry method. Here, numerous collection pipes are connected to multiple downspouts on the building and channelled to empty into the storage tank underground. The underground piping makes it relatively expensive to install compared to the dry and wet systems.
Components of a Rainwater Harvesting System
- The catchment is the surface from which rainwater is collected for storage. This could be a rooftop, a paved flooring surface or a landscaped area. The catchment area is the area of that surface, usually calculated in square metres.
- Gutters and Downtake pipes lead the water from the catchment surface to the storage tank
- Filters and first flush devices remove grit, leaves and dirt that the rainwater may transport from the catchment before the water enters the storage tank. When it rains after a long gap, the rooftops are usually very dirty, and the rainwater also carries with it a lot of dissolved air pollutants. A first flush device diverts the water from the first rain so that it does not enter the storage tank.
- Storage tanks can be above the ground or below the ground.
- Recharge structures are possible somehow to promote the percolation of water through soil strata at a shallower depth (e.g., recharge trenches, permeable pavements) whereas others conduct water to greater depths from where it joins the groundwater.
Rainwater harvesting is a great way to capture rainfall and use for a variety of applications. Although it is relatively simple, having the right components in place will ensure that your system works for you, and you get the quality of water you deserve! If you currently have a rain harvesting system installed and you use a component that is not mentioned here, we would love to hear about it. Just add a comment below.
Sourced from worldwaterreserve.com