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Till about thirty years back, the areas around our homes and offices used to be unpaved and
the rain falling on these areas would percolate into the soil and remain there for being drawn
through shallow open wells. With the proliferation of flat complexes, not only have these
areas been paved and percolation of rainwater into the soil almost totally stopped, the
quantity of water drawn from the soil below has increased manifold. Consequently open
wells and not - so - deep bore wells started drying up. The reason is that no sincere attempt is
made to replenish the ground water table with rainwater during the monsoon. The Rainwater
harvesting is the simple collection or storing of water through scientific techniques from the
areas where the rain falls. It involves utilization of rain water for the domestic or the
agricultural purpose. The method of rain water harvesting has been into practice since ancient
times. It is as far the best possible way to conserve water and awaken the society towards the
importance of water. The method is simple and cost effective too. It is especially beneficial in
the areas, which faces the scarcity of water.
People usually make complaints about the lack of water. During the monsoons lots of water
goes waste into the gutters. And this is when Rain water Harvesting proves to be the most
effective way to conserve water. We can collect the rain water into the tanks and prevent it
from flowing into drains and being wasted. It is practiced on the large scale in the
metropolitan cities. Rain water harvesting comprises of storage of water and water recharging
through the technical process.

It was very difficult to imagine few decades before that you will require to buy drinking. The
use value of water was never undermined, but its about time that even its exchange value is
given due importance. Fresh water today is a scarce resource, and it is being felt the world
over. More than 2000 million people would live under conditions of high water stress by the
year 2050, according to the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), which warns
water could prove to be a limiting factor for development in a number of regions in the world.
About one-fifth of the worlds population lacks access to safe drinking water and with the
present consumption patterns; two out of every three persons on the earth would live in
water-stressed conditions by 2025. Around one-third of the world population now lives in
countries with moderate to high water stresswhere water consumption is more than 10% of
the renewable fresh water supply, said the GEO (Global Environment Outlook) 2000, the
UNEPs millennium report. Pollution and scarcity of water resources and climate change
would be the major emerging issues in the next century, said the report. These issues would
be followed by problems of desertification and deforestation, poor governance at the national
and global levels, the loss of biodiversity, and population growth, said the report - The
Observer of Business and Politics, 12 October 1999.

The reality of water crisis cannot be ignored. India has been notorious of being poor in its
management of water resources. The demand for water is already outstripping the supply.

Figure 1.1 Hydrological Cycle

Majority of the population in the cities today are groundwater dependent. In spite of the
municipal water supply, it is not surprising to find people using private tube wells to
supplement their daily water needs. As a result, the groundwater table is falling at an
alarming rate.
Extraction of groundwater is being done unplanned and uncontrolled thus this has resulted in:
Hydrological imbalance
Deterioration in water quality
Rise in energy requirements for pumping
Rain Water Harvesting, is an age-old system of collection of rainwater for future use. But
systematic collection and recharging of ground water, is a recent development and is gaining
importance as one of the most feasible and easy to implement remedy to restore the
hydrological imbalance and prevent a crisis.
Technically speaking, water harvesting means a system that collects rainwater from where it
falls rather than allowing it to drain away. It includes water that is collected within the
boundaries of a property, from roofs and surrounding surfaces. Experts suggest various ways
of harvesting water:
Capturing run-off from rooftops
Capturing run-off from local catchments
Capturing seasonal flood water from local streams
Conserving water through watershed management

Local water harvesting systems developed by local communities and households can reduce
the pressure on the state to provide all the financial resources needed for water supply. In
addition, involving people will give them a sense of ownership and reduce the burden on
government funds.

The reality of water crisis cannot be ignored. India has been notorious of being poor in its
management of water resources. The demand for water is already outstripping the supply.
Majority of the population in the cities today are groundwater dependent. In spite of the
municipal water supply, it is not surprising to find people using private tube wells to
supplement their daily water needs. As a result, the groundwater table is falling at an
alarming rate.
Extraction of groundwater is being done unplanned and uncontrolled thus this has resulted in:
Hydrological imbalance

Deterioration in water quality
Rise in energy requirements for pumping
Rain Water Harvesting, is an age-old system of collection of rainwater for future use. But
systematic collection and recharging of ground water, is a recent development and is gaining
importance as one of the most feasible and easy to implement remedy to restore the
hydrological imbalance and prevent a crisis.
Technically speaking, water harvesting means a system that collects rainwater from where it
falls rather than allowing it to drain away. It includes water that is collected within the
boundaries of a property, from roofs and surrounding surfaces. Experts suggest various ways
of harvesting water:
Capturing run-off from rooftops
Capturing run-off from local catchments
Capturing seasonal flood water from local streams
Conserving water through watershed management

Local water harvesting systems developed by local communities and households can reduce
the pressure on the state to provide all the financial resources needed for water supply. In
addition, involving people will give them a sense of ownership and reduce the burden on
government funds.


The scarcity of water is a well-known fact. In spite of higher average annual rainfall in India
(1,170 mm, 46 inches) as compared to the global average (800 mm, 32 inches) it does not
have sufficient water. Most of the rain falling on the surface tends to flow away rapidly,
leaving very little for the recharge of groundwater. As a result, most parts of India experience
lack of water even for domestic uses.
Surface water sources fail to meet the rising demands of water supply in urban areas,
groundwater reserves are being tapped and over-exploited resulting into decline in
groundwater levels and deterioration of groundwater quality. This precarious situation needs
to be rectified by immediately recharging the depleted aquifers.
Hence, the need for implementation of measures to ensure that rain falling over a region is
tapped as fully as possible through water harvesting, either by recharging it into the
groundwater aquifers or storing it for direct use.

Global population has more than doubled since 1950 and reached six billion in 1999. The
most recent population forecasts from the United Nations indicate that, under a medium
fertility scenario, global population is likely to peak at about 8.9 billion in 2050.
Given that many natural resources (such as water, soil, forests and fish stocks) are already
being exploited beyond their limits in some regions, significant effort will be required to meet
the needs of an additional three billion people in the next 50 years.
In parallel with these changes, there have been profound demographic shifts as people
continue to migrate from rural to urban areas in search of work and new opportunities. Since
1950, the number of people living in urban areas has jumped from 750 million to more than
2.5 billion people. Currently, some 61 million people are added to cities each year through
rural to urban migration, natural increase within cities, and the transformation of villages into
urban areas. Urbanisation creates new needs and aspirations, as people work, live, move and
socialise in different ways, and require different products and services. Urban environmental
impacts and demands are also different. By 2025, the total urban population is projected to
double to more than five billion, and 90 per cent of this increase is expected to occur in
developing countries.


Rapid population growth, combined with industrialisation, urbanisation, agricultural
intensification and water-intensive lifestyles is resulting in a global water crisis. About 20
percent of the population currently lacks access to safe drinking water, while 50 per cent
lacks access to a safe sanitation system. Falling water tables are widespread and cause serious
problems, both because they lead to water shortages and, in coastal areas, to salt intrusion.
Both contamination of drinking water and nitrate and heavy metal pollution of rivers, lakes
and reservoirs are common problems throughout the world. The world supply of freshwater
cannot be increased. More and more people are becoming dependent on limited supplies of
freshwater that are becoming more polluted. Water security, like food security, is becoming a
major national and regional priority in many areas of the world.

Figure 1.2 World population reached 6 billion in 1999

Figure 1.3 by the year 2025, two thirds of the world population may be subject to water


Rainwater harvesting and utilisation systems have been used since ancient times and evidence
of roof catchment systems date back to early Roman times. Roman villas and even whole
cities were designed to take advantage of rainwater as the principal water source for drinking
and domestic purposes since at least
2000 B.C. In the Negev desert in Israel, tanks for storing runoff from hillsides for both
domestic and agricultural purposes have allowed habitation and cultivation in areas with as
little as 100mm of rain per year. The earliest known evidence of the use of the technology in
Africa comes from northern Egypt, where tanks ranging from 200-2000m3 have been used
for at least 2000 years many are still operational today.
The technology also has a long history in Asia, where rainwater collection practices have
been traced back almost 2000 years in Thailand. The small-scale collection of rainwater from
the eaves of roofs or via simple gutters into traditional jars and pots has been practiced in
Africa and Asia for thousands of years. In many remote rural areas, this is still the method
used today. The world's largest rainwater tank is probably the Yerebatan Sarayi in Istanbul,
Turkey. This was constructed during the rule of Caesar Justinian (A.D. 527-565). It measures
140m by 70m and has a capacity of 80,000 cubic metres.

2.1 How Can Rainwater Harvesting and Utilisation Contribute to a

Sustainable Water Strategy?
Self-Sufficiency in Water Supply, Without Being Dependent on Remote Water Sources
Many cities around the world obtain their water from great distances often over 100km
away. But this practice of increasing dependence on the upper streams of the water resource
supply area is not sustainable. Building dams in the upper watershed often means submerging
houses, fields and wooded areas. It can also cause significant socioeconomic and cultural
impacts in the affected communities. In addition, some existing dams have been gradually
filling with silt. If not properly maintained by removing these sediments, the quantity of
water collected may be significantly reduced.

Decentralised Life-Points, Versus the Conventional Life-Line Approach
When the city increases the degree of its dependence on a remote water resource, and there is
a long period without rainfall in the upstream dam sites, the ability of the city to function
effectively is seriously compromised. The same can be said about a citys reliance on a
pipeline for drawing water from a water resource area to the city. A city which is totally
reliant on a large, centralised water supply pipeline (or lifeline) is vulnerable in the face of
a large-scale natural disaster. A shift from life-line to decentralised life points should be
encouraged. Numerous scattered water resource life-points within a city are more resilient
and can draw on rainwater and groundwater, providing the city with greater flexibility in the
face of water shortages and earthquakes

In scientific terms, water harvesting refers to collection and storage of rainwater and also
other activities aimed at harvesting surface and groundwater, prevention of losses through
evaporation and seepage and all other hydrological studies and engineering inventions, aimed
at conservation and efficient utilization of the limited water endowment of physiographic unit
such as a watershed.
Rain is a primary source of water for all of us. There are two main techniques of rainwater
Storage of rainwater on surface for future use.
Recharge to groundwater.
Directly collected rainwater can be stored for direct use or can be recharged into the

All the secondary sources of water like rivers, lakes and groundwater are entirely dependent
on rain as a primary source.

The term water harvesting is understood to encompass a wide range of concerns, including
rainwater collection with both rooftop and surface runoff catchment, rainwater storage in
small tanks and large-scale artificial reservoirs, groundwater recharge, and also protection of
water sources against pollution.
The objective of water harvesting in India differs between urban and rural areas. In urban
areas, emphasis is put on increasing groundwater recharge and managing storm water. On the
other hand, in rural areas securing water is more crucial. There the aim is to provide water for
drinking and farming, especially for life-saving irrigation, and to increase groundwater


Typically, a rainwater harvesting system consists of three basic elements: the collection
system, the conveyance system, and the storage system. Collection systems can vary from
simple types within a household to bigger systems where a large catchment area contributes
to an impounding reservoir from which water is either gravitated or pumped to water
treatment plants. The categorisation of rainwater harvesting systems depends on factors like
the size and nature of the catchment areas and whether the systems are in urban or rural
settings. Some of the systems are described below.
I. Simple roof water collection systems
While the collection of rainwater by a single household may not be significant, the impact of
thousands or even millions of household rainwater storage tanks can potentially be enormous.
The main components in a simple roof water collection system are the cistern itself, the
piping that leads to the cistern and the appurtenances within the cistern. The materials and the
degree of sophistication of the whole system largely depend on the initial capital investment.
Some cost effective systems involve cisterns made with Ferro cement, etc. In some cases, the
harvested rainwater may be filtered. In other cases, the rainwater may be disinfected

Rooftop / Runoff Rainwater Harvesting for Artificial Recharge to Ground Water
Water harvesting is the deliberate collection and storage of rainwater that runs off on natural
or manmade catchment areas. Catchment includes rooftops, compounds, rocky surface or hill
slopes or artificially prepared impervious/ semi-pervious land surface. The amount of water
harvested depends on the frequency and intensity of rainfall, catchment characteristics, water
demands and how much runoff occurs and how quickly or how easy it is for the water to
infiltrate through the subsoil and percolate down to recharge the aquifers. Moreover, in urban
areas, adequate space for surface storage is not available, water levels are deep enough to
accommodate additional rainwater to recharge the aquifers, rooftop and runoff rainwater
harvesting is ideal solution to solve the water supply problems.

Figure 3.1 Roof top rain water Harvesting

II. Larger systems for educational institutions, stadiums, airports, and other
When the systems are larger, the overall system can become a bit more complicated, for
example rainwater collection from the roofs and grounds of institutions, storage in
underground reservoirs, treatment and then use for non-potable applications.
III. Roof water collection systems for high-rise buildings in urbanised areas
In high-rise buildings, roofs can be designed for catchment purposes and the collected roof
water can be kept in separate cisterns on the roofs for non-potable uses.

IV. Land surface catchments

Rainwater harvesting using ground or land surface catchment areas can be a simple way of
collecting rainwater. Compared to rooftop catchment techniques, ground catchment
techniques provide more opportunity for collecting water from a larger surface area. By

retaining the flows (including flood flows) of small creeks and streams in small storage
reservoirs (on surface or underground) created by low cost (e.g., earthen) dams, this
technology can meet water demands during dry periods. There is a possibility of high rates of
water loss due to infiltration into the ground, and because of the often marginal quality of the
water collected, this technique is mainly suitable for storing water for agricultural purposes.

Figure 3.2 Example of a ground catchment system

V. Collection of storm water in urbanised catchments

The surface runoff collected in storm water ponds/reservoirs from urban areas is subject to a
wide variety of contaminants. Keeping these catchments clean is of primary importance, and
hence the cost of water pollution control can be considerable.


Three most important components, which need to be evaluated for designing the rainwater
harvesting structure, are:
1. Hydrogeology of the area including nature and extent of aquifer, soil cover, topography,
depth to water levels and chemical quality of ground water

2. Area contributing for runoff i.e. how much area and land use pattern, whether industrial,
residential or green belts and general built up pattern of the area
3. Hydro-meteorological characters like rainfall duration, general pattern and intensity of

Figure 4.1 Elements of Rain Water Harvesting


A rainwater harvesting system comprises components of various stages - transporting
rainwater through pipes or drains, filtration, and storage in tanks for reuse or recharge. The
common components of a rainwater harvesting system involved in these stages are illustrated
The catchment of a water harvesting system is the surface which directly receives the rainfall
and provides water to the system. It can be a paved area like a terrace or courtyard of a
building, or an unpaved area like a lawn or open ground. A roof made of reinforced cement
concrete (RCC), galvanised iron or corrugated sheets can also be used for water harvesting.

4.2 Catchment

At the roof to prevent the passage of debris.

Figure 4.3 Coarse Mesh

Channels all around the edge of a sloping roof to collect and transport rainwater to the storage
tank. Gutters can be semi-circular or rectangular and could be made using:
Locally available material such as plain galvanised iron sheet (20 to 22 gauge), folded
to required shapes.
Semi-circular gutters of PVC material can be readily prepared by cutting those pipes
into two equal semi-circular channels.
Bamboo or betel trunks cut vertically in half.

The size of the gutter should be according to the flow during the highest intensity rain. It is
advisable to make them 10 to 15 per cent oversize.
Gutters need to be supported so they do not sag or fall off when loaded with water. The way
in which gutters are fixed depends on the construction of the house; it is possible to fix iron
or timber brackets into the walls, but for houses having wider eaves, some method of
attachment to the rafters is necessary.

Conduits are pipelines or drains that carry rainwater from the catchment or rooftop area to the
harvesting system. Conduits can be of any material like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or
galvanized iron (GI), materials that are commonly available.
The following table gives an idea about the diameter of pipe required for draining out
rainwater based on rainfall intensity and roof area:

Table 4.1 Diameter of conduits

A first flush device is a valve that ensures that runoff from the first spell of rain is flushed out
and does not enter the system. This needs to be done since the first spell of rain carries a
relatively larger amount of pollutants from the air and catchment surface.

There is always some skepticism regarding Roof Top Rainwater Harvesting since doubts are
raised that rainwater may contaminate groundwater. There is remote possibility of this fear
coming true if proper filter mechanism is not adopted. Secondly all care must be taken to see
that underground sewer drains are not punctured and no leakage is taking place in close
vicinity. Filters are used for treatment of water to effectively remove turbidity, colour and
microorganisms. After first flushing of rainfall, water should pass through filters. There are
different types of filters in practice, but basic function is to purify water.


Figure 4.4 Sand Filter

Slow Sand Filters are used in water purification for treating raw water to produce a potable
product. They are typically 1 to 2 metres deep, can be rectangular or cylindrical in cross
section and are used primarily to treat surface water. The length and breadth of the tanks are
determined by the flow rate desired by the filters, which typically have a loading rate of 0.1
to 0.2 metres per hour (or cubic metres per square metre per hour).
Slow sand filters differ from all other filters used to treat drinking water in that they work by
using a complex biological film that grows naturally on the surface of the sand. The sand
itself does not perform any filtration function but simply acts as a substrate, unlike its
counterparts for UV and pressurized treatments. Although they are often the preferred
technology in many developing countries because of their low energy requirements and

robust performance. Slow sand filters now are also being tested for pathogen control of
nutrient solutions in hydroponic systems.


Charcoal filter can be made in-situ or in a drum. Pebbles, gravel, sand and charcoal as shown
in the figure should fill the
drum or chamber. Each layer
should be separated by wire
mesh. Carbon filtering is a
method of filtering that uses
a bed of activated carbon to
remove contaminants and
Figure 4.5 Charcoal Filter
Using chemical adsorption.

Each particle/granule of carbon provides a large surface area/pore structure, allowing

contaminants the maximum possible exposure to the active sites within the filter media. One
pound (450 g) of activated carbon contains a surface area of approximately 100 acres (40

Activated carbon works via a process called adsorption, whereby pollutant molecules in the
fluid to be treated are trapped inside the pore structure of the carbon substrate. Carbon
filtering is commonly used for water purification, in air purifiers and industrial gas
processing, for example the removal of siloxanes and hydrogen sulfide from biogas. It is also
used in a number of other applications, including respirator masks, the purification of
sugarcane and in the recovery of precious metals, especially gold. It is also used in cigarette

Active charcoal carbon filters are most effective at removing chlorine, sediment, volatile
organic compounds (VOCs), taste and odor from water. They are not effective at removing
minerals, salts, and dissolved inorganic compounds.

Typical particle sizes that can be removed by carbon filters range from 0.5 to 50 micrometers.
The particle size will be used as part of the filter description. The efficacy of a carbon filter is
also based upon the flow rate regulation. When the water is allowed to flow through the filter
at a slower rate, the contaminants are exposed to the filter media for a longer amount of time.
This filter can be made by PVC pipe of 1 to 1.20 m length; Diameter of pipe depends on the
area of roof. Six inches dia. pipe is
enough for a 1500 Sq. Ft. roof and 8
inches dia. pipe should be used for roofs
more than 1500 Sq. Ft. Pipe is divided
into three compartments by wire mesh.
Each component should be filled with
gravel and sand alternatively as shown in
the figure. A layer of charcoal could also
be inserted between two layers. Both ends of filter should have reduce of required size to
connect inlet and outlet. This filter could be placed horizontally


It is a simple filter made from PVC drum having a layer of sponge in the middle of drum. It is
the easiest and cheapest form filter, suitable for residential units.

The total amount of water that is received in the form of rainfall over an area is called the
rainwater endowment of that area. Out of this, the amount that can be effectively harvested is
called the water harvesting potential.

Water Harvesting potential = Rainfall (mm) X Collection efficiency

An example of potential for rainwater harvesting2:
Consider a building with a flat terrace area of 100m2. The average annual rainfall in Delhi is
approximately 600 mm (24 inches). In simple terms, this means if the terrace floor is
assumed impermeable, and all the rain that falls on it is retained without evaporation, then, in
one year, there will be rainwater on the terrace floor to a height of 600 mm.
Area of the plot = 100 m2
Height of annual rainfall = 0.6 m (600 mm or 24 inches)
Volume of rainfall over the plot = Area of plot X Height of rainfall
= 100 m2 X 0.6 m
= 60 m3 (60,000 litres)
Assuming that only 60 percent of the total rainfall is effectively harvested,
Volume of water harvested = 36,000 litres
This volume is about twice the annual drinking water requirement of a 5-member family. The
average daily drinking water requirement per person is 10 litres3.


Rainwater collected from rooftops is free of mineral pollutants like fluoride and calcium salts
that are generally found in groundwater. But, it is likely that to be contaminated with these
types of pollutants:
1. Air Pollutants
2. Surface contamination (e.g., silt, dust)
Such contaminations can be prevented to a large extent by flushing off the first rainfall. A
grill at the terrace outlet for rainwater can arrest leaves, plastic bags and paper pieces carried
by water. Other contamination can be removed by sedimentation and filtration. Disinfectants
can remove biological contamination.

1. Cost of a Rainwater harvesting system designed as an integrated component of a new
construction project is generally low.
2. Designing a system onto an existing building is costlier because many of the shared costs
(roof and gutters) can be designed to optimise system.

3. In general, maximising storage capacity and minimising water use through conservation
and reuse are important rules to keep in mind.

4. With careful planning and design, the cost of a rainwater system can be reduced
Estimated average cost of installing a Water Harvesting System for:
1. An individual house of average area of 300-500 m2, the average cost will be around
Rs. 20,000-25,000. A recharge well will be constructed near the existing bore well.
The roof water through PVC pipe will be diverted to recharge well.
2. An apartment building, the cost will be less since the many people will share the cost.
More over in apartments there are separate storm water drains, which join the MCD drains in
the main road. Here along with recharge well, recharge trench and percolation pits can be
constructed. The cost will be around 60 to 70 thousand.

3. A colony, the cost will be much less. For instance, around 36 recharge wells were installed
at the cost of 8 lakh, which is around Rs 500-600 per house. In many colonies storm water
drains are present but it is difficult to isolate them from sewage drains because there has been
violation of the drainage master plan. Also, these drains are not properly maintained. Hence,
care needs to be taken while using storm water for water harvesting.
Rooftop harvesting is preferred because the silt load is less. In storm water drain the silt load
is high and generally the municipality does not maintain the storm drains properly.
4. An institution with campus, the cost was around 4 lac. Here two recharge wells and three
trenches cum percolation pits were constructed.

Average annual maintenance cost would be around Rs 200-300 for two labourers once in a
year to remove the pebbles and replace the sand from trenches.



In this method rain water collected from the roof of the building is diverted to a storage tank.
The storage tank has to be designed according to the water requirements, rainfall and
catchment availability. Each drainpipe should have mesh filter at mouth and first flush device
followed by filtration system before connecting to the storage tank. It is advisable that each
tank should have excess water over flow system.

Excess water could be diverted to recharge system. Water from storage tank can be used for
secondary purposes such as washing and gardening etc. This is the most cost effective way of
rainwater harvesting. The main advantage of collecting and using the rainwater during rainy
season is not only to save water from conventional sources, but also to save energy incurred
on transportation and distribution of water at the doorstep. This also conserves groundwater,
if it is being extracted to meet the demand when rains are on.


Ground water aquifers can be recharged by various kinds of structures to ensure percolation
of rainwater in the ground instead of draining away from the surface. Commonly used
recharging methods are:-

a) Recharging of bore wells

b) Recharging of dug wells.

c) Recharge pits

d) Recharge Trenches

e) Soak ways or Recharge Shafts

f) Percolation Tanks

In the past, it was believed that rainwater was pure and could be consumed without pre-
treatment. While this may be true in some areas that are relatively unpolluted, rainwater
collected in many locations contains impurities. Particularly during the last three decades,
acid rain has affected the quality of the collected water, to the point where it now usually
requires treatment.
Rainwater quality varies for a number of reasons. While there are widely accepted standards
for drinking water, the development of approved standards for water when it is used for non-
potable applications would facilitate the use of rainwater sources.
In terms of physical-chemical parameters, collected roof water, rainwater and urban storm
water tend to exhibit quality levels that are generally comparable to the World Health
Organisation (WHO) guideline values for drinking water. However, low pH rainwater can
occur as a result of sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide and other industrial emissions, hence air
quality standards must be reviewed and enforced. In addition, high lead values can sometimes
be attributed to the composition of certain roofing materials thus it is recommended that for
roof water collection systems, the type of roofing material should be carefully considered.
A number of collected rainwater samples have exceeded the WHO values in terms of total
coliform and faecal coliform. The ratios of faecal coliform to faecal streptococci from these
samples indicated that the source of pollution was the droppings of birds, rodents, etc.
Currently, water quality control in roof water collection systems is limited to diverting first
flushes and occasional cleaning of cisterns. Boiling, despite its limitations, is the easiest and
surest way to achieve disinfection, although there is often a reluctance to accept this practice
as taste is affected. Chlorine in the form of household bleach can be used for disinfection,
however the cost of UV disinfection systems are usually prohibitive. One promising area of
research is the use of photo-oxidation based on available sunlight to remove both the
coliforms and streptococci.



1. Low-cost Maintenance

Once the system is all up and running, you really dont need to invest much money in
keeping it running. If you intend only to use the collected water for non-drinking purposes,
you dont even need to purify the water.

2. Lower Water Bills

Collecting your own water means spending less on the water companies water. Water can be
used to flush toilets, wash clothes and dishes, and to water gardens. On a bigger scale,
rainwater harvesting can lead to major savings for households or small businesses.

3. Great for Irrigation

Rainwater is not subjected to any chemicals found in ground water and therefore is ideal for
irrigation as well as for watering plants in the garden.

4. Reduces Ground Water Demand

As our population increases, so does the demand for water. In many areas, ground water is
extracted to keep up with demand and this has lead to low levels of ground water being left

5. Reduces Soil Erosion and Floods

By keeping rainwater from reaching the ground, it is possible to prevent flooding if carried
out on a large-enough scale. Rainwater harvesting also reduces soil erosion and keeps surface
water from being contaminated with pesticides and fertilizers from rainwater run-off.

6. Multi-Purpose

Rainwater can be used for all sorts of things from flushing toilets, to washing clothes, cars,
and dishes, to keeping the garden freshly watered


1. Unreliable rainfall

Isnt it just always the case that right when you need something it suddenly isnt there? Rain
is no different, and it cant be relied upon to fall exactly when its needed. However, here in
the UK we shouldnt worry too much. You are unlikely to spend very long periods of time
without plenty of rainwater to use.

2. Starting costs

Installing a rainwater harvesting system can be costly, with systems ranging from the low
hundreds to the low thousands in cost. Similarly to solar panels, costs can be recovered in 10-
15 years

It is no denying that sustaining and recharging the groundwater along with judicious use of
the limited fresh water resources is the need of the hour. If sufficient measures are not taken
up immediately, we will face a crisis which will be detrimental to the very survival of
mankind. Efficient management of water resources and education about judicious utilization
of water resources along with measures of harnessing, recharging and maintaining the quality
of water and water bodies has to be taken up on war footing.
One of the most logical steps towards this goal would be acknowledging the importance of
rainwater harvesting. This should not only encompass rooftop rainwater harvesting but also
storm water harvesting systems. Storm water harvesting is yet to be acknowledged as a better
alternative over rooftop water harvesting. One of the major hurdles in storm water harvesting
is the poor state of storm water drain systems in India. A planned approach is hence needed in
order to fully utilise the potential of rainwater to adequately meet our water requirements.
Hence, an equal and positive thrust is needed in developing and encouraging both the types of
water harvesting systems. We have to catch water in every possible way and every possible
place it falls.
It can be concluded from above findings that rainwater, if conserved and utilized using the
rainwater harvesting technology, can be an effective tool of replenishing ground water

[1] A Water Harvesting Manual for Urban Areas: Case Studies from Delhi. 2003. New Delhi:
Centre for Science and Environment.
[2] Centre for Science and Environment. 2003. Site dedicated to Rainwater Harvesting.
Accessed on various dates at
[3] Government of India. 2003. Ground Water in Delhi: Improving the sustainability through
Rainwater Harvesting, Central Ground Water Board, and Ministry of Water Resources.