Life depends on water, and the availability of water depends upon you!
Every year as the summer sets in, water becomes scarce across the length and breadth of India. Can you imagine living in an Indian city and not having a water connection at your home?
Well, a Bengaluru scientist has just done that!
By rainwater harvesting to meet all his family’s requirements of water at his home, Mr. A.R Shivakumar, a senior scientist in Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology has not paid for water bill for 22 years. His family uses harvested rainwater for bathing, washing, and even drinking.
You must be wondering, How green is this building in Kerala! The 13-storey corporate office of V-Guard at Vennala is a green wonder. Every floor has a balcony with flowering plants surrounding it, which prevents the building from heating up. Only 10 percent of the building has an air-conditioning facility. All water requirements are met by rain-water harvesting and 2 open wells. Quite awesome isn't it? All because of sheer knowledge and the will of doing it!
According to a report published by The Hindu, the corporate office of V-Guard does not even have a corporation water connection! There are many efforts such as these.
As India has erratic rainfall in most years, a renewable water resource like rainwater, if properly harvested, can mitigate water scarcity to a huge extent.
Is it easy to carry out Water Harvesting?
In India, rainwater harvesting has been in practice for more than 4000 years. It is basically is a simple process of accumulating and storing of rainwater. Rainwater harvesting systems, since ancient times, has been applied as a supply for drinking water, water for irrigation, and water for livestock.
The systems are easy to construct from locally sourced inexpensive materials, and it has proved to be a success in most areas. The prime advantage of rainwater is that the quality of water is usually good, and it does not necessitate any treatment before consumption. Household rainfall catchments can significantly contribute to where the source of drinking water is contaminated and scarce.
Ranging from fairly simple to extremely complicated industrial systems, there are a variety of techniques that can be used to harvest rainwater. Usually, rainwater is either harvested on a roof, or on the ground. The rate at which rainwater can be collected from either of the two systems is entirely dependent on the intensity of rainfall, the area of the systems in use, and its overall efficiency.
Rainwater Harvesting in Indian Cities
The history of rainwater harvesting and management can be traced back to Biblical times, and interestingly, this old technology has made a superb comeback in a new way in a new world, promising to deliver a sustainable solution in eradicating the menace of a global water crisis.
Unfortunately, in the modern era, the age-old methodology of rainwater harvesting was greatly neglected. Years of negligence, and short-sighted water management policies that mostly rely on overexploitation of ground and river water, has once again brought rainwater harvesting to the fore because of its life-saving qualities.
Rainwater harvesting and management hold tremendous potential for alleviating storm-water runoff and reducing groundwater consumption, particularly in urban areas. Though the costs of installing modern rainwater harvesting systems, storing, and treatment of rainwater was an area of concern earlier, now with the advent of new technologies, the investment has a positive return.
Today, rainwater harvesting systems are acting as incredible support systems in many Indian cities, providing a superb alternative to the main water supply, especially during dry seasons. Moreover, the advantages of storing rainwater are not only limited to a particular individual or a family, but it is coming off as a lifesaver for many urban communities as well.
Widespread installation of these systems is also revitalizing the natural properties of land, helping to improve the quality of groundwater, raising its level, and preventing wells and tube wells from drying up. Additionally, efficient deployment of rainwater harvesting systems is limiting surface runoff of water, which is reducing soil erosion and increasing its fertility.
Common Methods of Urban Rainwater Harvesting
Some of the most familiar methodologies of urban rainwater harvesting and management are –
Surface Runoff Harvesting
Surface runoff harvesting is the most suitable method in urban clusters. Here, streams of surface runoff rainwater are redirected and stored for future use in specially-built reservoirs, either on the surface or underground. This provides a steady supply of clean, potable water, and also water for normal domestic uses.
Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting
Rooftop rainwater harvesting is the most popular of all harvesting options in urban areas. The system can be installed in an individual home environment, schools, colleges, and other institutional buildings that have more available roof space.
The underlying concept of rooftop rainwater harvesting is pretty simple and easily doable. A container needs to be constructed or placed beneath the roof level, which will store the rainwater intercepted and redirected towards it through pipes made out of wood, bamboo, or PVC. Though this is the basic concept, industrial-grade rooftop rainwater harvesting in big complexes is somewhat more complex.
Another common rainwater harvesting process is constructing recharge pits to hold the rainwater. Recharge pits can be of any size and shape, depending on the intensity of rainfall in a particular area. It is important to fill these recharge pits with coarse sand, boulders, and gravels, which act as natural filters that keep away dirt and impurities usually carried by the first flow of rainwater.
OUR GENERAL TAKE ON RAINWATER HARVESTING WITH FACTS-
1. Rainwater harvesting or the collection of rainwater in a proper way can be a permanent solution to the problem of the water crisis in different parts of the world. This simple method can put forward a solution that will be workable in areas where there is sufficient rain but the groundwater supply is not sufficient on the one hand and on the other surface water resource is insufficient.
This is particularly applicable in hilly areas where it can be utilized for human consumption, by animals and also for farming. In remote areas, where surface pollution is comparatively low, rainwater harvesting is ideal.
2. Although the earth is three-fourths water; very little of it is suitable for human consumption or agriculture. Rainfall is unpredictable and there is a constant shortage of water in countries that are agriculture dependent or generally drought-prone.
3. A bad monsoon means low crop yield and a shortage of food. Even animals suffer from a scarcity of water. Africa and the Indian subcontinent face an acute water crisis during the summer months. The farmers are the most affected because they do not get sufficient water for their fields. Rainwater harvesting, therefore, is an ideal solution for farmers who depend on monsoon for consistent water supply.
4. Unavailability of clean water compels the consumption of polluted water, giving rise to water-borne diseases and the high rate of infant mortality. In recent studies, it has been observed that in Lima (Peru) nearly 2 million people do not have access to any water supply, and those who do have access get water supply which has a high possibility of being contaminated.
It has been reported that the water crisis in some parts of Honduras is so severe that the municipal corporation of those areas cannot supply enough water even to those residents who have municipal water supply connections. This has been reported by Anna Kajumuto Tibaijuka, Under-secretary General, UNED UN-Habitat.
5. If rainwater, which comes for free, can be collected and stored, instead of letting it run off, it could be an alternative to back up the main water supply especially during dry spells. Its importance will not be limited to an individual family but can be used by a community as well.
Systematic rainwater harvesting can help in irrigation with minimum use of technology and is therefore cost-effective. This simple method can help farmers to prevent their crops from drying due to lack of water. It also creates a sense of social responsibility and awareness about the environment.
As you might've understood the importance of harvesting the rainwater now, from reading this article we urge you to go for it! For the betterment of your life and that of the environment! Also, feel free to talk to us regarding the same! Take a pledge of saving our beautiful environment and let us strive towards sustainability!
Vinayak Construction Consultants and Maintenance Services have always recommended the water harvesting system in all our construction projects irrespective of their scales. And have successfully developed various systems to get the maximum benefit out of the projects!!
When the wells dry, we know the worth of water!
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