Rain Water Harvesting


This hub is an answer to a request from Mandybeau (Hub pages). I was asked to explain the ways in which rain water harvesting could be useful and how safe would harvested water be, for drinking and other purposes. I was, perhaps, chosen to answer this request as I (not in the forefront, though) along with my husband and a team of scientists, spent almost a decade, executing rainwater harvesting projects in India. Further details are available at the link given below. The company (Water Solutions Inc) continues to be involved in this noble cause since year 2000.

Before I delve into the subject, it’s important for me to give a passing reference to the need for having water harvesting done (in your backyard). This is a technique used, in most parts of the world, only for the purpose of recharging ground water. Whether we like it or not, it goes without saying that ‘rain’ still ‘reigns’ as the prime and natural resource of water, no matter how many scientific innovations man might have made in the field of 'water augmentation'. As we all know that due to deforestation and the consequent ecological imbalance, the water level beneath the ground is being depleted day by day. Besides, the ever rising demand of water supply, especially from the urban areas, does not match with the surface water sources; as a result, the water reserves beneath the ground level are overexploited. This consequently results in the water level depletion. Water harvesting, apart from recharging the ground water level, increases the availability of water at a given place, at a given point of time. This useful technique has helped people, especially, in the dry and arid zones, where the relentless effort and extensive research conducted in the field of Hydrogeology, has yielded significant results.

How the structure looks
How the structure looks

Rain Water Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting is a very ancient technique known to have existed for over 4000 years. It is enjoying a renaissance of sorts in the world, but it traces its history to biblical times. Extensive rain water harvesting apparatus existed 4000 years ago in the Palestine and Greece. In ancient Rome, residences were built with individual cisterns and paved courtyards to capture rain water for augmenting water from city's aqueducts. As early as in third millennium BC, farming communities in Baluchistan and Kutch impounded rain water and used it for irrigation dams. 

It is a process involving collection and storage of rain water (with the help of artificially designed system) that runs off natural or man-made catchment areas e.g. roof top, compounds, rock surface or hill slopes or artificially repaired impervious/semi-pervious land surface. Undoubtedly a number of factors contribute to the amount of water harvested e.g. the frequency and the quantity of rainfall, catchments characteristics, water demands and the quantum of runoff, and above all speed and ease with which the rainwater percolates through the subsoil to recharge the ground water.  It further reduces the run off which chokes the storm water drains, reduces flooding of water on the roads, improves the quality of water and reduces the chances of soil erosion.

Rainwater Harvesting is a way to capture the rain water when it rains, stores that water underground for being used later. This happens naturally in open rural areas. But in congested, over-paved metropolitan cities, we need to create methods to capture the rain water. This technique is being revived now, to give back to Nature that we take from it.   The rainwater that falls on the surface/ roof top is guided to bore wells or pits or new/ old/ abandoned wells through small diameter pipes to recharge the underground water which can be used later, whenever required. 

How Rain Water Harvesting is done!

Uses of harvested water

Rain water harvesting’ is often mistaken for ‘water recycling’ but there is a stark difference in the two processes, in as much as, in the former case, water can be used only for domestic (washing, bathing, laundry etc) and irrigation purposes whereas in the latter, water is recycled and chemically treated so as to make it fit for drinking purpose. This clearly shows that harvested water should only be understood as the stored underground water (primarily obtained from rain) which in the first place, replenishes the ground water level and secondly, makes additional water available for domestic and agriculture usage. The entire process of installation, of technically equipped underground water harvesting structures, has been lucidly explained in the video uploaded herein. It should be able to explain the whole process of capturing the rain water and diverting it through the pipes into the storage tanks, installed beneath the earth surface.

Credit goes to all those scientists who have worked day and night for devising this simple mechanism for giving back to the Nature what we take from it. It’s high time the human race stops exploiting the Natural resources and instead, expresses its gratitude (for the bounties offered by Mother Nature) by thinking about replenishment, for a change.

I am sure a world without ‘Water’ would sound unimaginable and uninhabitable. So, we better start preserving it before we run out of it completely. 

Repleting Ground Water

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Comments 22 comments

easetravels profile image

easetravels 8 years ago from INDIA,TAMILNADU

In Tamilnadu, during Jayalalitha as CM of the State made a rule that each house of Tamilnadu should provide a tank to save rain water,harvested through pipes from the respective house rain water outlets. Now, Tamilnadu, inspite of Karnataka and Tamilnadu cauvery water dispute, is enjoying adequate water supply in the respective house bore wells.

As you said this technology is in force since 2000 years. In those days more ponds were providing adequate water supply to each villages.Such ponds use to get water due to rain.

Good article. L o L

VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Very informative hub,as it made me aware about water harvesting. There is so much we take granted and so much we can do with our natural resources. 

We pump water from the well here at home as we live in a rural town, but since we don't have a backup generator, when we had a two hour blackout two nights ago, we didn't have water either. Since I am from the city where I never experienced being without water even during random blackouts in NY, I was beginning to worry how could we survive without water if the blackout were to take long. Makes sense to get a backup generator, but I digress, you hub brings awareness, and I think its wonderful you are part of the harvesting water project.

mandybeau 8 years ago

Thanks agn, I am really into this, Every home in this town used to have a tank, we still do, but we are on a lifestyle block.

Town is all on water supply from the Main wanganui reservoir, but, every home now has to seperate water if the don't have a tank, and from what I can see it just runs down the road, evaporating as it goes to the stormwater system. From there it goes back into the rivers, to allow only " clean" water down the drains and not sewage. It is cleaning up the rivers, but I still think people need to conserve way more.


anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 8 years ago from New York Author

easetravels: That's the point. Water saved is water earned. Thx for reading.

VioletSun: Resources are less as compared to the human comsumption so we need to find out ways to save something for 'Rainy Days'. That's what is said. Thx for visiting.

Mandybeau: It was a pleasure answering your questions. I hope I could clarify all doubts. You are free to ask me anything relating to this subject whenever the need arises. Thx for reading.

Lgali profile image

Lgali 8 years ago

very informative hub

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

Very good hub. It is absolutely required in several places where fresh water is scarce. It is a must that we make use of this natural resource as in another 25 years half the world population wouldn't have this precious resource available: http://rehydrate.org/water/2025.htm

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 8 years ago from New York Author

Lgali: Thx very much

CW: Thx for reading. It's a pleasure to have you back. Yes, we need to focus on the water paucity issue before it leads to a crisis. The link which you sent was quite apt.Thx

Misha profile image

Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

If you rewrite your title in a title case, it will not cause an opposition right from the butt, and bring you more readers. It refers to many other your hubs, too. You actually are writing interesting hubs, and more people will come and read and comment if you don't scare them away with screaming even before they open a hub.

Yes, all CAPS is considered screaming on the interwebz :)

PS Feel free to delete this comment so it does not spoil your thread, I don't mind, just take a note of what I said :)

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 8 years ago from New York Author

Misha: There is no reason for deleting your comment. I am always open for suggestions. In fact I should have realized it myself but somehow it didn't catch my attention. I am grateful that you made me aware of my mistake. Thx for visiting.

cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

Thanks to mandybeau we also get to know about rain harvesting. Great technology I hope you guys are highly successful. We used to harvest rain water during my childhood, mom used to heat the water and filter it with cloth around the pot. The water tasted much better than the city water, which had chlorine smell. Another great hub from Anjali. Thanks.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 8 years ago from New York Author

cgull8m: I am glad that you liked this subject. I knew there would be very few takers for this topic (LOL) but I still chose to go ahead with it as I strongly believe that we need to spread awareness about the issue which has not been able to get the attention it deserves.Thx for visiting.

cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

Be the same, we need this now more than ever. We have been wasting all the resources like crazy.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 8 years ago from New York Author

cgull8m: Yep! I need more friends and supporters like you. Hope it's not an undue expectation.

Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 8 years ago from United States

Living here where we have restrictions on water, in some counties for several years -- I couldn't agree with your hub more. Very interesting!

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 8 years ago from New York Author

Jerilee Wei: Thanks very much for your kind comments.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

This is a very good topic. Many isolated South Pacific islands such as Pitcairn rely on collecting rain water for drinking water. Thanks for the informative hub.

ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

anjalichugh Great topic- great hub - precious water - here at home we have a tank where get all our water for drinking and cooking plus access to the town mains water (which tastes truly awful) for washing etc. But as the water restrictions get stricter  and stricter we plan to put  in more tanks  as we have quite a large expanse of roof and guttering that we don't collect water from.. - also we recyle the washing water through a tank and hose onto the garden..

but what really bothers me is the number of bores being put down across Australia , and also right through our area as the bores I believe(& I  could be quite wrong of course) must deplete the water levels below ground which in the future could  affect everyone else....cheers

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

Sweetie pie: Thx for your kind comments. It has a become a serious issue in most parts of the world today.

Ajcor: You are absolutely right. Bores lead to over exploitation and consequent depletion of water levels. That's why we advocate the necessity of water harvesting which involves sending the water back to the earth from where it is sucked out. We should be able to save this precious resource if we maintain this cycle at least. Thx for visiting.

ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

Thanks for that info anjalichugh

Sagarika Rath profile image

Sagarika Rath 6 years ago from Delhi

excellent hub and covered important aspects of water harvesting. still many options are still left if u colud include those.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 6 years ago from New York Author

sagarika: What I mentioned here is just tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to it that I might end up writing 10-15 hubs on this single topic but then I've to consider the interest of the Hub community as well. If there is anything in particular you would like to know about this subject, do let me know. I'll try my best to answer your queries. Thx very much for visiting.

Sagarika Rath profile image

Sagarika Rath 6 years ago from Delhi

dnt wry i too have the same goal to save our planet and definitely help you to further your efforts

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