Rainwater harvesting is the accumulation and storage of rainwater for reuse on-site, rather than allowing it to run off. Rainwater can be collected from rivers or roofs, and in many places, the water collected is redirected to a deep pit (well, shaft, or borehole), a reservoir with percolation, or collected from dew or fog with nets or other tools. Its uses include water for gardens, livestock, irrigation, domestic use with proper treatment, indoor heating for houses, etc. The harvested water can also be used as drinking water, longer-term storage, and for other purposes such as groundwater recharge.
Rainwater harvesting is one of the simplest and oldest methods of self-supply of water for households usually financed by the user.
Rainwater harvesting provides an independent water supply during regional water restrictions, and in developed countries, is often used to supplement the main supply. It provides water when a drought occurs, can help mitigate flooding of low-lying areas, and reduces demand on wells which may enable groundwater levels to be sustained. It also helps in the availability of potable water, as rainwater is substantially free of salinity and other salts. Application of rainwater harvesting in urban water system provides a substantial benefit for both water supply and wastewater subsystems by reducing the need for clean water in water distribution system, less generated stormwater in sewer system, and a reduction in stormwater runoff polluting freshwater bodies.
A large body of work has focused on the development of lifecycle assessment and lifecycle costing methodologies to assess the level of environmental impacts and money that can be saved by implementing rainwater harvesting systems.
More development and knowledge is required to understand the benefits of rainwater harvesting that can provide to agriculture. Many countries, especially those with arid environments, use rainwater harvesting as a cheap and reliable source of clean water. To enhance irrigation in arid environments, ridges of soil are constructed to trap and prevent rainwater from running down hills and slopes. Even in periods of low rainfall, enough water is collected for crops to grow. Water can be collected from roofs, and dams and ponds can be constructed to hold large quantities of rainwater so that even on days when little to no rainfall occurs, enough is available to irrigate crops.
The concentration of contaminants is reduced significantly by diverting the initial flow of run-off water to waste. Improved water quality can also be obtained by using a floating draw-off mechanism (rather than from the base of the tank) and by using a series of tanks, withdraw from the last in series. Prefiltration is a common practice used in the industry to ensure that the water entering the tank is free of large sediment. Prefiltration is important to keep the system healthy.
Conceptually, a water supply system should match the quality of water with the end use. However, in most of the developed world, high-quality potable water is used for all end uses. This approach wastes money and energy and imposes unnecessary impacts to the environment. Supplying rainwater that has gone through preliminary filtration measures for nonpotable water uses, such as toilet flushing, irrigation and laundry, may be a significant part of a sustainable water management strategy.
Rainwater harvesting systems can range in complexity, from systems that can be installed with minimal skills, to automated systems that require advanced setup and installation. The basic rainwater harvesting system is more of a plumbing job than a technical job, as all the outlets from the building terrace are connected through a pipe to an underground tank that stores water.
Systems are ideally sized to meet the water demand throughout the dry season, since it must be big enough to support daily water consumption. Specifically, the rainfall capturing area such as a building roof must be large enough to maintain adequate flow of water. The water storage tank size should be large enough to contain the captured water.
For low-tech systems, many low-tech methods are used to capture rainwater: rooftop systems, surface water capture, and pumping the rainwater that has already soaked into the ground or captured in reservoirs and storing it in tanks (cisterns).
Before a rainwater harvesting system is built, use of digital tools is useful. For instance, to detect if a region has a high rainwater harvesting potential, rainwater-harvesting GIS maps can be made using an online interactive tool. Or, to estimate how much water is needed to fulfill a community's water needs, the Rain is Gain tool helps. Tools like these can save time and money before a commitment to build a system is undertaken, in addition to making the project sustainable and last a long time.
Lifecycle assessment: design for environment
Contemporary system designs require an analysis of not only the economic and technical performance of a system, but also the environmental performance. Lifecycle assessment is a methodology used to evaluate the environmental impacts of a precut or systems, from cradle-to-grave of its lifetime. Devkota et al., developed such a methodology for rainwater harvesting, and found that the building design (e.g., dimensions) and function (e.g., educational, residential, etc.) play critical roles in the environmental performance of the system. The Economic and Environmental Analysis of Sanitations Technologies, EEAST model evaluates the greenhouse gas emissions and cost of such systems over the lifetime of a variety of building types.
To address the functional parameters of rainwater harvesting systems, a new metric was developed - the demand to supply ratio (D/S) - identifying the ideal building design (supply) and function (demand) in regard to the environmental performance of rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing. With the idea that supply of rainwater not only saves the potable water, but also saves the stormwater entering the combined sewer network (thereby requiring treatment), the savings in environmental emissions were higher if the buildings are connected to a combined sewer network compared to separate one.
Rainwater harvesting by freshwater-flooded forests
Rainwater harvesting is possible by growing freshwater-flooded forests without losing the income from the used, submerged land. The main purpose of the rainwater harvesting is to use the locally available rainwater to meet water requirements throughout the year without the need of huge capital expenditure. This would facilitate the availability of uncontaminated water for domestic, industrial, and irrigation needs.
Rainwater harvesting by solar power panels
Good quality water resource, closer to populated areas, is becoming scarcity and costly for the consumers. In addition to solar energy, rain water is major renewable resource of any land. Vast area is being covered by solar PV panels every year in all parts of the world. Solar panels can also be used for harvesting most of the rain water falling on them and drinking quality water, free from bacteria and suspended matter, can be generated by simple filtration and disinfection processes as rain water is very low in salinity. Exploitation of rain water for value added products like bottled drinking water, makes solar PV power plants profitable even in high rainfall / cloudy areas by the augmented income from value added drinking water generation.
Instead of using the roof for catchment, the RainSaucer, which looks like an upside-down umbrella, collects rain straight from the sky. This decreases the potential for contamination and makes potable water for developing countries a potential application. Other applications of this free-standing rainwater collection approach are sustainable gardening and small-plot farming.
A Dutch invention called the Groasis Waterboxx is also useful for growing trees with harvested and stored dew and rainwater.
Traditionally, stormwater management using detention basins served a single purpose. However, optimized real-time control lets this infrastructure double as a source of rainwater harvesting without compromising the existing detention capacity. This has been used in the EPA headquarters to evacuate stored water prior to storm events, thus reducing wet weather flow while ensuring water availability for later reuse. This has the benefit of increasing water quality released and decreasing the volume of water released during combined sewer overflow events.
Generally, check dams are constructed across the streams to enhance the percolation of surface water into the subsoil strata. The water percolation in the water-impounded area of the check dams can be enhanced artificially manyfold by loosening the subsoil strata and overburden using ANFO explosives as used in open cast mining. Thus, local aquifers can be recharged quickly using the available surface water fully for use in the dry season.
Around the third century BCE, the farming communities in Balochistan (now located in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran), and Kutch, India, used rainwater harvesting for agriculture and many other uses. In ancient Tamil Nadu , rainwater harvesting was done by Chola kings. Rainwater from the Brihadeeswarar temple (located in Balaganpathy Nagar, Thanjavur, India) was collected in Shivaganga tank. During the later Chola period, the Vīrānam tank was built (1011 to 1037 CE) in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu state to store water for drinking and irrigation purposes. Vīrānam is a 16-km-long tank with a storage capacity of 1,465,000,000 cu ft (41,500,000 m3).
Though little-known, for centuries, the town of Venice depended on rainwater harvesting. The lagoon which surrounds Venice is brackish water, which is not suitable for drinking. The ancient inhabitants of Venice established a system of rainwater collection which was based on man-made insulated collection wells. Water percolated down the specially designed stone flooring, and was filtered by a layer of sand, then collected at the bottom of the well. Later, as Venice acquired territories on the mainland, it started to import water by boat from local rivers, but the wells remained in use, and were especially important in time of war when access to the mainland water could be blocked by an enemy.
- In China, Argentina, and Brazil, rooftop rainwater harvesting is being practised for providing drinking water, domestic water, water for livestock, water for small irrigation, and a way to replenish groundwater levels. Gansu province in China and semiarid northeast Brazil have the largest rooftop rainwater harvesting projects going on.
- Thailand has the largest fraction of the population in the rural area relying on rainwater harvesting (currently around 40%). Rainwater harvesting was promoted heavily by the government in the 1980s. In the 1990s, after government funding for the collection tanks ran out, the private sector stepped in and provided several million tanks to private households, many of which continue to be used.  This is one of the largest examples of self-supply of water worldwide.
- In Bermuda, the law requires all new construction to include rainwater harvesting adequate for the residents.
- The U.S. Virgin Islands has a similar law.
- In Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, the houses of the Diola-people are frequently equipped with homebrew rainwater harvesters made from local, organic materials.
- In the Irrawaddy Delta of Myanmar, the groundwater is saline and communities rely on mud-lined rainwater ponds to meet their drinking water needs throughout the dry season. Some of these ponds are centuries old and are treated with great reverence and respect.
- In the United States, until 2009 in Colorado, water rights laws almost completely restricted rainwater harvesting; a property owner who captured rainwater was deemed to be stealing it from those who have rights to take water from the watershed. Now, residential well owners who meet certain criteria may obtain a permit to install a rooftop precipitation collection system (SB 09-080). Up to 10 large scale pilot studies may also be permitted (HB 09-1129). The main factor in persuading the Colorado Legislature to change the law was a 2007 study that found that in an average year, 97% of the precipitation that fell in Douglas County, in the southern suburbs of Denver, never reached a stream—it was used by plants or evaporated on the ground. In Colorado, one cannot even drill a water well on properties less than 35 acres (14 ha). Rainwater catchment is mandatory for new dwellings in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Texas offers a sales tax exemption on the purchase of rainwater harvesting equipment. Both Texas and Ohio allow the practice even for potable purposes. Oklahoma passed the Water for 2060 Act in 2012, to promote pilot projects for rainwater and graywater use among other water-saving techniques.
- In Beijing, some housing societies are now adding rainwater in their main water sources after proper treatment.
- In Ireland, Professor Micheal Mcginley established a project to design a rainwater harvesting prototype in the biosystems design challenge module at University College Dublin
Main article: Rainwater harvesting in Canada
A number of Canadians have started implementing rainwater harvesting systems for use in stormwater reduction, irrigation, laundry, and lavatory plumbing. Substantial reform to Canadian law since the mid-2000s has increased the use of this technology in agricultural, industrial, and residential use, but ambiguity remains amongst legislation in many provinces. Bylaws and local municipal codes often regulate rainwater harvesting.
- Pan India Potential: No authenticated potential of rainwater harvesting has been assessed in India.
- In Andhra Pradesh, the groundwater table is generally below 7 meters from the ground level. By various methods of rainwater harvesting, if the ground water table is raised by 4 meters by using the adequate rainfall available during the monsoon season, crops can be grown through out the year using the ground water without facing water shortage.
- Tamil Nadu was the first state to make rainwater harvesting compulsory for every building to avoid groundwater depletion. The scheme was launched in 2001 and has been implemented in all rural areas of Tamil Nadu. Posters all over Tamil Nadu including rural areas create awareness about harvesting rainwater TN Govt site. It gave excellent results within five years, and slowly every state took it as a role model. Since its implementation, Chennai had a 50% rise in water level in five years and the water quality significantly improved.
- Karnataka: In Bangalore, adoption of rainwater harvesting is mandatory for every owner or the occupier of a building having the site area measuring 60 ft (18.3 m) X 40 ft (12.2 m) and above and for newly constructed building measuring 30 ft (9.1 m) X 40 ft (12.2 m) and above dimensions. In this regard, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board has initiated and constructed “Rain Water Harvesting Theme Park” in the name of Sir M. Visvesvaraya in 1.2 acres (4,900 m2) of land situated at Jayanagar, Bangalore. In this park, 26 different type of rainwater harvesting models are demonstrated along with the water conservation tips. The auditorium on the first floor is set up with a "green" air conditioning system and will be used to arrange the meeting and showing of a video clip about the rainwater harvesting to students and general public. An attempt has been made at the Department of Chemical Engineering, IISc, Bangalore to harvest rainwater using upper surface of a solar still, which was used for water distillation
- In Rajasthan, rainwater harvesting has traditionally been practised by the people of the Thar Desert. Many ancient water harvesting systems in Rajasthan have now been revived. Water harvesting systems are widely used in other areas of Rajasthan, as well, for example the chauka system from the Jaipur district.
Main article: Rainwater harvesting in Kerala
- Maharashtra: At present, in Pune, rainwater harvesting is compulsory for any new housing society to be registered.
- In Mumbai, Maharashtra, rainwater harvesting is being considered as a good solution to solve the water crisis.
The Mumbai City council is planning to make rainwater harvesting mandatory for large societies.
The Southwest Center for the Study of Hospital and Healthcare Systems in cooperation with Rotary International is sponsoring a rainwater harvesting model program across the country. The first rainwater catchment system was installed at an elementary school in Lod, Israel. The project is looking to expand to Haifa in its third phase. The Southwest Center has also partnered with the Water Resources Action Project of Washington, DC, which currently has rainwater harvesting projects in the West Bank. Rainwater harvesting systems are being installed in local schools for the purpose of educating schoolchildren about water conservation principles and bridging divides between people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds, all while addressing the water scarcity issue that the Middle East faces.
Although New Zealand has plentiful rainfall in the West and South, for much of the country, rainwater harvesting is the normal practice for most rural housing and is encouraged by most councils.
Rainwater harvesting has been a popular method of obtaining water for agriculture and for drinking purposes in rural homes. The legislation to promote rainwater harvesting was enacted through the Urban Development Authority (Amendment) Act, No. 36 of 2007. Lanka rainwater harvesting forum is leading the Sri Lanka's initiative.
The South African Water Research Commission has supported research into rainwater harvesting. Reports on this research are available on their 'Knowledge Hub'. Studies in arid, semiarid, and humid regions have confirmed that techniques such as mulching, pitting, ridging, and modified run-on plots are effective for small-scale crop production.
Main article: Rainwater harvesting in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, water butts are often found in domestic gardens and on allotments to collect rainwater, which is then used to water the garden. However, the British government's Code For Sustainable Homes encouraged fitting large underground tanks to newly built homes to collect rainwater for flushing toilets, watering, and washing. Ideal designs had the potential to reduce demand on mains water supply by half. The code was revoked in 2015.
- In 1992, American artist Michael Jones McKean created an artwork in Omaha, Nebraska, at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art that created a fully sustainable rainbow in the Omaha skyline. The project collected thousands of gallons of rainwater, storing the water in six daisy-chained 12,000 gallons tanks. The massive logistical undertaking, during its five-month span, was one of the largest urban rainwater harvesting sites in the American Midwest.
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- ^ abDevkota, Jay; Schlachter, Hannah; Apul, Defne (May 2015). "Life cycle based evaluation of harvested rainwater use in toilets and for irrigation". Journal of Cleaner Production. 95: 311–321. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.02.021.
- ^Rainwater harvesting by fresh water flooded forests
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- ^Braga, Andrea. "Making Green Work, and Work Harder"(PDF). Geosyntec. p. 5. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
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- ^Harry Low (December 23, 2016). "Why houses in Bermuda have white stepped roofs". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-12-23.
- ^"Rainwater Collection in Colorado"(PDF). Colorado water law, notices. Colorado Division of Water Resources. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- ^"Criteria and Guidelines for the "Rainwater Harvesting""(PDF). Pilot Project Program. Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). January 28, 2010. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- ^Johnson, Kirk (June 28, 2009). "It's Now Legal to Catch a Raindrop in Colorado". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- ^"82(R) H.B. No. 3391. Act relating to rainwater harvesting and other water conservation initiatives. † went into effect on September 1, 2011". 82nd Regular Session. Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
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- ^"Tamil Nadu praised as role model for Rainwater Harvesting". Hindu.com. 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- ^"Rain Water Harvesting BWSSB - Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board". bwssb.gov.in.
- ^Anjaneyulu, L.; Kumar, E. Arun; Sankannavar, Ravi; Rao, K. Kesava (13 June 2012). "Defluoridation of Drinking Water and Rainwater Harvesting Using a Solar Still". Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. 51 (23): 8040–8048. doi:10.1021/ie201692q.
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- ^"Rainwater tanks". Greater Wellington Regional Council. 28 April 2016. Archived from the original on 14 April 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
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Rainwater harvesting involves the collection and storage of rainwater into the natural reservoirs or artificial reservoirs in order to prevent the surface water runoff.
Essay on Rain Water Harvesting
We have provided variety of paragraph and essay on rain water harvesting under different words limit for the students. It is very important topic on which students may be assigned to write essay or paragraph on the rain water harvesting. You can select any rain water harvesting essay given below according to the need and requirement.
Rain Water Harvesting Essay 1 (100 words)
Rain water harvesting is a technique used for collecting and storing rainwater by using various means in different resources for the future use purpose (like cultivation, etc). Rain water can be collected into the natural reservoirs or artificial tanks. Another method of collection is infiltration of surface water into the subsurface aquifers before getting lost by surface overflow. Rooftop harvesting is also a method to collect rainwater. It is of big importance to the people living in the less rainfall areas. They can continue seasonal crop harvesting using collected rain water even in the lack of regular water supply. Whenever it rains, rain water gets collected into the man made ponds or tanks.
Rain Water Harvesting Essay 2 (150 words)
Rain water harvesting is the collection of rainwater into the man made resources or any natural resource like pond, lake, etc at the same place where it falls from rooftops or ground. Two main techniques of rainwater harvesting are storage for future use and recharge into the ground. It can be used for crop harvesting, gardening, toilets, etc. Following are the benefits of rainwater harvesting at individual or city-wide level:
- It helps in reducing the water supply bills especially to the institutions.
- Rainwater recharged to the ground positively affects groundwater quality by diluting fluorides, nitrates and its salinity.
- It contains almost neutral pH and zero hardness which makes it more able to be used in homes, industries, institutions and other commercial establishments.
- It may reduce the stress of public water supply sources.
- Recharge of rainwater to the ground prevents sea-water immersion into the fresh water bodies in the coastal areas.
- It helps in controlling urban flooding if people do rainwater harvesting from rooftops.
- It reduces water demands of people from the municipality thus lessens energy consumption too in distributing water all through the city.
Rain Water Harvesting Essay 3 (200 words)
Rainwater harvesting means collecting the rain water into the natural reservoirs or man-made tanks. It is the technique to collect and store rainwater for various purposes in the future. The most common and easy method of rain water harvesting is the rooftop harvesting. Using this technique we can collect lots of clean rain water in the rainy season. It can be stored for long time for the household purposes like gardening, livestock, and irrigation, etc. Following are benefits of rain water harvesting:
- It helps in reducing water supply loads and electricity bills of municipality, improve free water supply, crop production in rural areas, and thus lead to food security.
- Rain water harvesting system helps in reducing the insecurity of households or individuals in the rural areas.
- It provides easy and low cost water supply in the lack of water areas thus helps in food security and income generation.
Tamil Nadu is one of the states of India and now has been first Indian state where rainwater harvesting has been mandatory. Tamil Nadu state government has declared on 30th of May 2014 to establish around 50,000 rainwater harvesting structures at various places in the Chennai. Till now, approximately 4,000 of the temples in the Tamilnadu have rain water tanks serving at various rituals in temples and help in recharging the groundwater.
Rain Water Harvesting Essay 4 (250 words)
Every drop of rain water is like blessings of God to the people on the earth. Fresh rain water falls on the ground like pearls, so everyone should understand the importance of rain water especially in developing regions and rural areas lack of natural water resources. We should try to collect rain water without wasting through rooftops and along streets run off. We should bring our old traditional harvesting practices using new and effective technologies to make easy water supply in all the regions. As only hand pumps, wells, and other resources of groundwater levels cannot fulfill the potable water need of hundreds of thousands of people.
Rainwater harvesting is the most sustainable and effective way for many years to make water available in the areas lacking water. Rainwater harvesting is very low cost method along with lots of benefits. It helps in various purposes like household works, field irrigation, livestock, agriculture and animal husbandry.
It helps in rejuvenating the groundwater levels in both directly and indirectly manner. Groundwater level can be replenished by rain water harvesting methods of trenches, anicut, dug wells, contour, etc whereas other rain water harvesting methods like underground water tanks, ponds, etc help in reducing the use of groundwater for at least four to six months. It is very effective in the hilly regions and desert regions of the India and other countries. More and clean rain water can be collected in the rainy season by making large and clean water body.
Rain Water Harvesting Essay 5 (300 words)
Now-a-days, people have been depended on the government system of water supply for getting water for their every need. The present scenario of water management and distribution in the cities has been centralized by the government which has brought a big gap of community responsibility in water management. It has slowly but regularly finished the old traditional water harvesting system.
Rainwater harvesting is again a new but old and effective technique of collecting rain water during rainy season for future usage purpose. It is being frequently used in various places of India to overcome the problems of lack of water. Rain water harvesting is the good source of ground water recharge in natural way. However, the ground water level is getting less day by day because of the rapid urbanization and cities development at huge level as well as reduction in percolation of the rainwater to the ground. Rainwater harvesting is the way to reduce the use of ground water as well as maintain its level forever in the future. It is of more importance to the drought regions of India and other countries to supply the demands of water for various purposes. Following are mentioned points proving the fact why to harvest rainwater:
- It plays great role in protecting the ground water decline and improving the ground water table.
- It helps in improving the water quality in aquifers.
- It is to conserve more water and prevent surface water runoff during the monsoon.
- It helps in reducing the soil erosion.
- It is to bring the old tradition of water conservation among people.
Rain water can be harvested in better way using following methods like surface runoff harvesting and roof top rainwater harvesting. Both are very effective methods help in enhancing the level of ground water and fulfill the need of water supply in easy and cost effective way.
Rain Water Harvesting Essay 6 (400 words)
Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storage of rain water in the natural resources or artificially designed resources to prevent water runoff and fulfill the lack of water in future. The quantity of water harvesting is affected by the number of factors like frequency of rainfall, quantity of rainfall, way of collecting rain water, and size of resources to collect water. The ground water level is getting depleted day by day due to various reasons like deforestation and ecological imbalance. Increasing level of urbanization and industrialization constantly increases the demand of water supply especially in the urban areas. It results in the overuse of ground water and thus going low level. The risk of water scarcity in the future has been increased to a great extent and can be life threatening if some effective solutions are not followed.
Water harvesting is very helpful and fulfill various need like recharging the ground water level, reduces electricity bill spend in supplying water and provide easy water supply anytime when required. It is estimated that 1 meter rise in the water level saves around 0.4 KWH of electricity.
Why Rain Water Harvesting is Necessary:
Rain water harvesting is very necessary to be practiced by the people in all regions. It is good to reduce the fear of water scarcity in the future. Following are the points proving the fact that why rain water harvesting is necessary:
- Surface water cannot fulfill the demand of water for various purposes.
- Everyone depend on the ground water for their every need.
- Deforestation, rapid urbanization, rain water infiltration to the sub-soil, etc reasons are continuously decreasing the level of ground water.
- Rain water conservation maintains the level of water in natural water resources.
- It reduces the chance of flooding of water on the roads, reduces the risk of soil erosion and improves the quality of water.
Following are main techniques of rain water harvesting:
- Collecting rainwater to the surface for future use.
- Recharging the ground water.
Collecting rain water to the surface is very effective and traditional technique. It can be done using small ponds, underground tanks, dams, weirs etc. However, ground water recharging technique is a new concept of harvesting. It can be done using dug wells, pits, trenches, hand pumps, recharge wells, recharge shafts, recharge lateral shafts with bore wells, spreading technique (means spread of water to the stream, nala, etc).
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