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Rainwater Harvesting Techniques that India Should Adopt on Priority

Apr 18, 2017

Over the globe, rainwater harvesting has proven to be a major boon.Many countries that were earlier facing drought have resolved their water crises by effective channelling of water through the method of rainwater harvesting.

So, what is rainwater harvesting?

It is the collection and storage of natural rainwater meant for re-use on the site, rather than allowing it to drain. While primarily used for gardening, irrigation and other agricultural purposes, there are quite a few households in water-scarce areas that use it as a source of drinking water, after running it through a water purification process.

What’s the current situation in India?

However, when it comes to India, the scenario is quite different. As per the Press Information Bureau, India is among the top receivers of rainfall when compared to countries of similar size. But rivers running dry and incumbent drought conditions have increased over the years at an alarming pace. Estimations by the Central Water Board state that the underground water levels are set to completely dry up across India by 2025 if nothing is done to change the situation.The constant digging of bore wells has further worsened the situation in many places.

Rainwater harvesting is a proven method to tackle water shortages. The penetration of rainwater harvesting in India is abysmally low, with less than 1% of the population actively practising rainwater harvesting. Despite several laws mandating rainwater harvesting in certain areas, not much emphasis has been laid in actively implementing these laws.

What are the methods of rainwater harvesting?

The two primary ways of harvesting rainwater include the surface run-off method and roof-top method. The surface run-off method emphasises on blocking and collecting already fallen rainwater that flows away through open spaces. The downside of this method is that the implementation is quite expensive and the water collection through this method needs to go through several rounds of purification to be fit for use for anything other than gardening.

The roof-top method relies on collecting rainwater as it falls. It’s accomplished by channelling water through the roof gutters into a water tank. This way, the water is purer and free from contaminants from the ground. This method is highly inexpensive and easy to implement across the country.

How can the situation be improved through other methods?

Additionally, other augmentative methods need to be followed, which can help improve the groundwater levels. Firstly, in urban areas, it is essential to make sure that there are sufficient permeable spaces available during the rainy season. Concrete and tar don’t let water permeate into the ground, thereby negatively affecting the groundwater levels. Secondly, there’s a need to make smart use of the gutters, redirecting rainwater to where it’s essential. Many homes redirect their rooftop gutter water to wells, water tanks or pits where the excess rainwater can be stored. But for this to be successful, you need to make sure that your gutters are regularly cleaned and no leaves or debris accumulate.

Smart landscaping is another way by which you can properly utilise rainwater. It can be achieved only through careful observation during the rainy season. Identify where the water is flowing away from. Once this is done, you can create bumps and troughs as required to channel the water to other parts of your garden that need water.

Even if your property adopts rainwater harvesting methods, to be on the safer side, we recommend you use the collected water for drinking purposes only after running it through a reliable water purifier.

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