Rainwater harvesting is the accumulation and deposition of rainwater for reuse before it reaches the aquifer. Uses include water for garden, water for livestock, water for irrigation, etc. In many places the water collected is just redirected to a deep pit with percolation. The harvested water can be used for drinking water as well if the storage is a tank that can be accessed and cleaned when needed. Advantages
Rainwater harvesting provides an independent water supply during regional water restrictions and in developed countries is often used to supplement the mains supply. Rain water harvesting provides water when there is a drought. Rainwater harvesting prevents flooding of low lying areas. Rain water harvesting replenishes the ground water table and enables our dug wells and bore wells to yield in a sustained manner. It helps in the availability of clean water by reducing the salinity and the presence of iron salts. Principle
The concentration of contaminants is reduced significantly by diverting the initial flow of runoff water to waste. Improved water quality can also be obtained by using a floating draw-off mechanism (rather than from the base of the tank) and by using a series of tanks, with draw from the last in series. The stored rainwater may need to be analyzed properly before use in a way appropriate to its safety. The quality of collected rainwater is generally better than that of surface water. Contamination is always possible by airborne dust and mists, bird feces, and other debris, so some treatment is necessary, depending on how the water will be used. Components of a rainwater harvesting system
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 here.
1. 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), galvanized iron or corrugated sheets can also be used for water harvesting. 2.Coarse mesh at the roof to prevent the passage of debris
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. 4. Conduits
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. 5. First-flushing
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. 6.Filter
The filter is used to remove suspended pollutants from rainwater collected over roof. A filter unit is a chamber...