As the name suggests, rainwater harvesting is a simple technique that is used in order to collect and store the rain water in either storage tanks that are located on the surface and are built in order to catch as much rainwater as possible, or in aquifers located below the surface, before the water is lost as runoff on the surface.
Rain water that is collected from the tops of houses or buildings can prove to be an important contribution to the overall amounts of rain water that are available to us for drinking purposes. Moreover, it can also provide an important boost to the level of subsoil water, hence improving urban greenery. There are special areas that are created in order to collect water from the ground.
These areas are especially prepared in order to store as much water as possible, and the stored water is referred to as storm water harvesting. There are certain places where rain water might prove to be the only source of clean drinking water, hence making it an economical factor too. Importantly, constructing a rain water harvesting system is not difficult at all, and it can be created by using inexpensive local materials and in most habitable locations, these systems prove to be highly successful.
However, rain water that comes from the roof cannot be considered potable, and will require further treatment before it can be passed off as fit for consumption. Most of the pollutants that contaminate the rain water are present on your roof, and as the water rushes through the surface of your roof, it picks up these pollutants. Common examples include bird feces, mercury residue left behind from burning coal, etc.
Even though the water from some roof tops might not be considered clean at all for drinking purposes, that water can still be brought in to effective use by employing it in daily use, for flushing toilets, watering the plants, washing the clothes as well as cars. These are standard uses of water in virtually every home, and by just harvesting your rain water and using it in place of the water that you get in your standard supply, you could potentially halve your usage of water. Usually, installing a rain water harvesting system is best for people who reside in areas where the levels of rain fall are higher than 200 mm on a yearly basis.
More importantly, if there aren’t any other sources of water available nearby, using a rain water harvesting system seems like the best option. In case your rain water harvesting system begins to overflow, it can be used to fill aquifers located in the ground. This process is called ground water recharge. However, this is not a direct process that is involved with rainwater harvesting, so it should not be confused with it. There are a variety of different systems that are currently being used for rain water harvesting, ranging from simplistic systems that are installed in residential houses, to complex large scale structures used by industries. See this Tamu article for more.
However, the rate at which water can be collected from these systems is primarily dependent upon the plan area of the whole system, the intensity of rain fall and the efficiency of the system, of course. Importantly, all storage tanks should be properly covered in order to make sure that mosquitoes do not begin to breed in them, and also to prevent losses caused due to evaporation, the growth of algae or due to contamination.
Even though the practice of storing rain water for use later on has been shown since before the Roman time period, the practice has all but died away in the more technologically advanced countries that have industrialized heavily, mainly because they are now more reliant on water supplied through the main lines.
However, with the constant increase in the demand for water as well as the adverse impact that massive commercialization of water can have on the local markets, rain water harvesting systems are becoming more and more popular for people. At present, the industry is still virtually in its inception stages, and a lot of work is required in order to make the rain water harvesting industry something of a power house, which would allow rain water harvesting to be considered an important part of a household. Here are a few advantages of harvesting rain water for later use:
You can easily get around the newly created water charges, which a lot of people have been talking controversially about.Rain water is free and easily available to all as long as you live in the right vicinity. All you need is to collect the water and use it!The demand for water on the municipal water supply is considerably lessened.
Rain water harvesting will allow you to save money on your utility bills, allowing you to make good and efficient use of water, which is a very valuable resource. Rain water harvesting can bring about a considerable decrease in flooding, erosion as well as the flow of water to storm water drains.Rain water is great for laundry use, as rain water is pretty soft and reduces the requirement for detergents.
The costs of setting up a decent rain water harvesting system are slightly higher than most people would imagine. Secondly, there is no benefit until the whole system has been created.You need constant maintenance in order to make sure that the system keeps working normally at all times.