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Water Harvesting - Something To Do On A Rainy Day!


Water butts for water harvesting

A very common phrase is "water is life", and a very common practice wherever man finds plentiful good water, he settles there. In our past, our present and our future, we find mankind fighting with his species over water. Water is not only essential for human but for every living being, i.e., plants, and animals.


Since we cannot produce water, we have to therefore, safe it and store it properly. Environmentalists, scientists, government organisations and non government organisations all are working on the project to safe water from wasting. This idea of storage, gathering and accumulation of water is termed as Water Harvesting.


Water harvesting includes:

  • Storage of rainwater for further use.
  • Recharge to ground water.


Rain water is one of the few water sources usually known to be clean and safe for drinking purpose. Traditionally, different techniques are used to store rain water for drinking and irrigation in arid and semi arid belts of the world. These include underground tanks, ponds, check dams, weirs etc. Rain water harvesting in urban areas provide a number of advantages:


  1. Helps to cope with drinking water requirements.
  2. Increases the soil moisture and as a result an increase in urban greenery.
  3. Increases the ground water table.


We do have to keep in mind rain water may be contaminated. Rain water harvested from roofs can contain animal and bird feces, windblown dust, particulates from urban pollution. To use such rain harvested water for drinking, it must be treated. The economical method is solar water disinfection.

Recharge to ground water is a new concept of rain water harvesting and the techniques used are pits, trenches, dug wells, hand pumps, recharge wells etc.


For future safety we have to adopt appropriate systems that should ideally evolve from the experience of traditional techniques. These systems should be based on experiences and shortcomings of previous projects. The most important thing is that the systems are appreciated by the communities, where they are introduced.