Rainwater Harvesting

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In the present scenario management and distribution of water has become centralized. People depend on government system, which has resulted in disruption of community participation in water management and collapse of traditional water harvesting system.

Concerned about the amount of scarce water you and your family go through every day? When you stop and think about it, we’ve got a reliable supply of clean, inexpensive water we can use and it literally falls from the sky. Years ago people used to have rain barrels that held water for future use, but most of us have gotten so used to having a steady supply of water pumped from the ground that we gave up on “old fashioned” rain barrels.

However, modern day concerns about water usage and cost are leading many of us to reconsider the idea of harvesting this natural supply of water. Although you shouldn’t drink it, harvested rainwater is great for watering plants or even lawns. All you need to harvest rainwater is a simple system to capture and store fallen rain and then distribute it when it’s needed.

As  the water crisis continues to become severe, there is a dire need of reform in water management system and revival of traditional systems. Scientific and technological studies needs to be carried out to assess present status so as to suggest suitable mitigative measures for the revival to traditional system/wisdom. Revival process should necessarily be backed by people’s initiative and active public participation.

Living creatures of the universe are made of five basic elements, viz., Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Sky, Obviously, water is one of the most important elements and no creature can survive without it. Despite having a great regard for water, we seem to have failed to address this sector seriously. Human being could not save and conserve water and it sources, probably because of its availability in abundance. But this irresponsible attitude resulted in deterioration of water bodies with respect to quantity and quality both. Now, situation has arrived when even a single drop of water matters. However. ” better late than never”, we have not realized the seriousness of this issue and initiated efforts to overcome those problems.

System of collection rainwater and conserving for future needs has traditionally been practiced in India. The traditional systems were time-tested wisdom of not only appropriate technology of Rainwater  Harvesting, but also water management  systems, where conservation of water was the prime concern. Traditional water harvesting systems were Bawaries, step wells, jhiries, lakes, tanks etc. These were the water storage bodies to domestic and irrigation demands. People were themselves responsible for maintenance to water sources and optimal use of water that could fulfill their needs.

What is Rainwater harvesting?


The term rainwater harvesting is being frequently used these days, however, the concept of water harvesting is not new for India. Water harvesting techniques had been evolved and developed centuries ago.

Ground water resource gets naturally recharged through percolation. But due to indiscriminate development and rapid urbainzation, exposed surface for soil has been reduced drastically with resultant reduction in percolation of rainwater, thereby depleting ground water resource. Rainwater harvesting is the process of augmenting the natural filtration of rainwater in to the underground formation by some artificial methods. “Conscious collection and storage of rainwater to cater to demands of water, for drinking, domestic purpose & irrigation is termed as Rainwater Harvesting.”

Why harvest rainwater ?

This is perhaps one of the most frequently asked question, as to why one should harvest rainwater. There are many reasons but following are some of the important ones.

  • To arrest ground water decline and augment ground water table

  • To beneficiate water quality in aquifers

  • To conserve surface water runoff during monsoon

  • To reduce soil erosion

  • To inculcate a culture of water conservation

How to harvest rainwater:

Broadly there are two ways of harvesting  rainwater:

(i)         Surface runoff harvesting                

(ii)        Roof top rainwater harvesting

Surface runoff harvesting:

In urban area rainwater flows away as surface runoff. This runoff could be caught and used for recharging aquifers by adopting appropriate methods.


Sensitized the teaching community, students and their parents on the importance of harvesting. All schools, colleges, polytechnics, ITI were involved in the campaign. Organised rallies, Essay writings, discussions and demonstrations with the involvement of Eco clubs. Students were made to involve in creation of structures. Participation of local community, parents-teachers associations (PTA) and contribution of school management were ensured.

Do’s and Don’ts

Harvested rainwater is used for direct usage or for recharging aquifers. It is most important to ensure that the rainwater caught is free from pollutants. Following precautionary measures should be taken while harvesting rainwater:-

  • Roof or terraces uses for harvesting should be clean, free from dust, algal plants etc.

  • Roof should not be painted since most paints contain toxic substances and may peel off.

  • Do not store chemicals, rusting iron, manure or detergent on the roof.

  • Nesting of birds on the roof should be prevented.

  • Terraces should not be used for toilets either by human beings or by pets.

  • Provide gratings at mouth of each drainpipe on terraces to trap leaves debris and floating materials.

  • Provision of first rain separator should be made to flush off first rains.

  • Do not use polluted water to recharge ground water.

  • Ground water should only be recharged by rainwater.

  • Before recharging, suitable arrangements of filtering should be provided.

  • Filter media should be cleaned before every monsoon season.

  • During rainy season, the whole system (roof catchment, pipes, screens, first flush, filters, tanks) should be checked before and after each rain and preferably cleaned after every dry period exceeding a month.

  • At the end of the dry season and just before the first shower of rain is anticipated, the storage tank should be scrubbed and flushed off all sediments and debris.

Distributing Your Harvest

  • 1

    Connect a soaker hose or a watering system made from plastic tubing to the outlets on your rain barrels and run it to your garden. When your garden needs watering all you need to do is turn on the tap and gravity will force the water through the tubes.

Maintaining Your Water Harvesting System

  • 1

    Clean the screen at the top of your downspout periodically to remove any accumulation of leaves or debris.

  • 2

    Check the holes in your water distribution system occasionally. Since they are lying on the ground, they need to be cleaned periodically.

    NOTE :

    • Water barrels can be made from plastic, metal or wood, and they can be as basic as a recycled 55 gallon plastic food grade drum to a designer-created thing of beauty. All will function just fine.

    • Install the bottom taps high enough on the barrels that you can get a bucket under them.

    • Never drink the rainwater stored in your system.




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