So, what exactly is rainwater harvesting?
As the name suggests it is the collection of the water during the monsoon and then using this water for various purposes like washing, cleaning or even drinking purposes. This water is collected directly from the surface on which the water falls. There can be many different surfaces or areas for collecting the water such as a terrace or courtyard of a building, or an unpaved area like a lawn or open ground. To store the rainwater a small channel is created which connects the rainwater from the rooftop to the storage tank.
Whenever the rainwater is collected it is important to keep it clean and hygienic so that it is clean and safe to use. There are many choices available with which you can choose to store the rainwater. The most common is the down-pipe flap. With this flap, it is possible to direct the first flush of water flow through the down-pipe, while later rainfall is diverted into a storage tank. The filter is used to remove suspended pollutants from rainwater collected over the roof.
10 easy implementations of rainwater harvesting systems:
1. Rooftop rainwater harvesting:
This type of rainwater harvesting system is quite popular and the water can easily be collected from the terrace of the building or the courtyards. In the rooftop rainwater harvesting system, the roof becomes the catchment area where the rainwater is stored. This water can either be stored in a tank or transferred to an artificial recharge system.
The channel then connects to a filter which purifies all the impurities before transferring it to the tank. The filter effectively separates any kind of dirt or debris from the water.
2. Install a rain barrel:
One of the easiest ways to store the rainwater is by installing a rain barrel. A rain barrel can be easily made by using an empty trash can or by using an empty drum. This unit is then connected to a pipe which transfers the water from the rooftop into it. To prevent the barrel from becoming a breeding ground for insects and mosquitoes you can cover it with a tight-fitting top and screen the ends of the downspouts leading into the barrels.
The benefits of this system are that it can be easily implemented without occupying much space in your home. Thus, you do not have to make a provision of additional space for the rain barrel.
The downside is that it has a low water storing capacity and can easily overflow during heavy showers, thus wasting precious water collection opportunities.
#Tip: An easy way to prevent the insects from entering into the water is by adding a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the stored rainwater. This will coat the water’s surface and prevent the larvae from breeding in the water.
3. Create a rain garden:
A rain garden is a small sunken landscape in your garden. This landscape uses native plants, local soil and mulch to remove the pollutants from the water, allowing it to percolate into the ground, thus recharging the groundwater. This kind of garden is very easy to create and has a good impact on the environment.
So, how does a rainwater garden work?
The rooftop collects the rainwater which is connected to different channels which allow the rainwater to enter into the gutter and spouts. Now, this rainwater reaches the deep roots of the plants and helps them to blossom, giving you the most beautiful rain garden, you could ever imagine.
4. Make your own rain chain:
Rain chains are beautiful and attractive and easy to make with the use of just a few basic tools. This fun, fashionable and environment-friendly accessories help avoid the runoff by transporting rainwater from the collecting pipe downwards to a drain or a storage container.
Rainwater chains mostly have a decorative purpose, but they can also be used wisely.
You can easily make a rain chain by yourself by using materials such as vintage materials, spoons, holders and small buckets and mugs.
5. Naturally, recharge your wells and borewells:
Creating a recharge pit for borewells is also a good idea as it pushes the surface water into the groundwater systems. Usually, a recharge pit is one meter in diameter and six-meter-deep, lined with concrete rings having perforations. These perforations let filtered and de-silted water seep from the sides increasing the groundwater table.
This helps to store the abundant water during the summers and also reduces the salinity, turbidity, and colour of the stored water.
6. Set up a splash block:
A splash block is a small piece of concrete or plastic which is usually rectangular. This splash block is then placed below the down spot which carries the rainwater from the roof of the house to the storage tank. It absorbs the force of the water that is getting diverted from the roof and also prevents holes from being dug in the garden due to the eroding force of the pouring water.
This is a great technique to divert the flowing rainwater from the structure’s foundation.
7. Build a rain saucer:
If you are looking for an easy and simple way of collecting the rainwater, a rain saucer is a perfect solution. It easily collects the rainwater without much hassle and fills up surprisingly fast. Looking like an upside-down umbrella, the rain saucer unfolds to form a funnel which fills the containers with rainwater. This kind of system easily collects the rainwater from the sky and decreases the chances of contamination of the water.
8. A reservoir for rain:
The surface of the rooftop on which the rainwater falls can be flat or slanting. This is then connected to a pipe, which connects it to a storage tank. This water can be used for washing cars, watering gardens, and it also minimizes the usage of the existing groundwater. A win-win system for economy and environment, this also helps in saving energy and keeps the energy bill to a minimum.
9. ‘Dry’ System:
This method is one of the variations of the rain barrel system. But, this kind of system offers a larger storage volume. Essentially, the collection pipe “dries” after each rain event since it empties directly into the top of the tank.
The benefits of this kind of system are that it is inexpensive and easy to implement. The system is not very complicated, making it easy to maintain. Further, it is a great choice for areas with a monsoon type of climate.
The downside is that the storage tank needs to be located close to your house.
10. ‘Wet’ System:
This method involves locating the collection of pipes underground to connect multiple downspouts from different gutters. The rainwater fills the underground pipes allowing the water level to rise until it spills into the tank.
The benefits of this system are that it has the ability to collect the water from the entire surface. It can collect from multiple structures and the tank does not necessarily have to be located close to your house.
The downside is that it is difficult to implement due to the underground piping system.
As we see today the demand for water is increasing day by day and the government is not always successful in meeting this rising water demand. Rainwater harvesting is not a new technique, as our ancestors used this technique for irrigation and feeding cattle or livestock.
Apartments are mushrooming all over our cities with the boom in the housing sector. By designing systems carefully and investing in sustainable technologies, apartments can provide supplementary water requirement.
Here, was a list of some simple techniques which you can implement to store the rainwater and overcome water shortages in the future.