What do you mean by rain water harvesting? How is it useful to us?
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.
Roof top rainwater harvesting (RTRWH):
It is a system of catching rainwater where it falls. In rooftop harvesting, the roof becomes the catchments, and the rainwater is collected from the roof of the house/building. It can either be storedin a tank or diverted to artificial recharge system. This method is less expensive and very effective and if implemented properly helps in augmenting the ground water level of the area.
It means capturing rain where it falls or capturing the run off in your own village or town. And taking measures to keep that water clean by not allowing polluting activities to take place in the catchment.
Therefore, water harvesting can be undertaken through a variety of ways
- Capturing runoff from rooftops
- Capturing runoff from local catchments
- Capturing seasonal floodwaters from local streams
- Conserving water through watershed management
These techniques can serve the following the following purposes:
- Provide drinking water
- Provide irrigation water
- Increase groundwater recharge
- Reduce stormwater discharges, urban floods and overloading of sewage treatment plants
- Reduce seawater ingress in coastal areas.
In general, water harvesting is the activity of direct collection of rainwater. The rainwater collected can be stored for direct use or can be recharged into the groundwater. Rain is the first form of water that we know in the hydrological cycle, hence is a primary source of water for us. Rivers, lakes and groundwater are all secondary sources of water. In present times, we depend entirely on such secondary sources of water. In the process, it is forgotten that rain is the ultimate source that feeds all these secondary sources and remain ignorant of its value. Water harvesting means to understand the value of rain, and to make optimum use of the rainwater at the place where it falls.