Almost three fourths of the planet earth is water but only 1% of that water is pure and can be utilized. As a result, there is constant shortage of water in any rural areas in many different countries. Water gathering system or rainwater harvesting has helped combat this problem in many parts of the world. This practice has been around for thousands of years now and has been growing rapidly. Rainwater is free of pollutants and contaminants which makes it even healthier than the ground water. The water, if found to be impure, can be purified through different processes. Basically, Water gathering system means collecting used or rain water for re-use rather than letting it run off.
This water is collected in a pit or tank and then is further redirected to its place of use. In household, it can be used for washing the dishes, laundry, gardening etc. This water can also be used commercially for irrigation where there is shortage of rainfall. Water gathering system is also incorporated by the governments of different countries as it contributes to overall income generation of the country. This improves factors like water supply and food production/security. Rural areas are benefited the most from harvesting rain water as it is cheap, convenient and easy to handle.
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Till today, rainwater is used as drinking water too in many rural areas around the world. It can save almost 50% of household water use. So we are basically wasting 50% of water in the world used for household, if we don’t practice water gathering and what source can be better than the natural rain to gather water? Examples of Water Gathering System Practices in Different Countries: In a developing country like India, Tamil Nadu has made rain water harvesting a mandatory task for all the houses. On May 30 2014, the government announced to set up 50,000 structures of water gathering at various parts in the capital city of Chennai. It aims to convert major water tanks of 40 temples into catchments for rainwater. China and northeast Brazil have the largest rooftop rainwater harvesting projects. In Thailand, the government promoted water gathering in 1980s. The private sectors had to step in during the 1990’s, after government funding for collection tanks ran out and the private sectors provided millions of tanks to households.
In Bermuda, it is a law to add rainwater harvesting systems in all new constructions. In USA, rainwater catchments are mandatory for new dwellings in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Texas offers a sales tax exemption on the purchase of rainwater harvesting equipment. Both Texas and Ohio allow the practice even for potable purposes. Oklahoma passed the Water for 2060 Act in 2012, to promote pilot projects for rainwater and graywater use among other water-saving techniques. Similarly, Rural parts of Bangladesh, Nepal, Kenya, Beijing, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa, UK and also Canada has actively adopted rainwater harvesting system. Venice depended on rainwater harvesting for many years due to less or no rainfall during harvest season.
Components of Water Gathering Systems: ? Catchments: The catchment of a water harvesting system is the surface which directly receives the rainfall and provides water to the system. ? Coarse Mesh: To prevent debris from entering the passage. ? Gutters: Gutters around the edge of the catchment allows you to collect all the possible amount of water to the storage tank. ? Conduits: These are the pipelines or drains which carry the collected rainwater from rooftops or catchments to the tank or harvesting systems. ? Filter: The filter is used to remove suspended pollutants from rainwater collected over roof.
Instead of using the roof for catchment, modern method adopted is to use the Rain saucer, which looks like an upside-down umbrella that collects rain straight from the sky. This decreases the potential for contamination and makes potable water for developing countries a potential application. Check dams are the best way to collect rainwater for larger commercial use and the governments of my countries prefer this method to store and collect fresh rain water which as a result reaches homes of many directly without any other processes and investments for storage. Advantages of Water Gathering ? It is easy to maintain: It allows us to better utilize an energy resource. As water is not easily renewable, it helps reducing wastage. Also, the systems and components of water storage are based on simple technology. The overall cost is much lower than the water purifying or pumping systems. Maintaining it requires very little time and energy.
The collected water can also be used in many different ways even without purification. ? Reduces water bills: For many families and small businesses, storing the rainwater reduces a large amount of the utility bill. In large scale industries, harvesting rainwater can provide enough needed amount of water when the water supplies are low which can help to cut off the bills for extra tanks of water. ? Suitable for Irrigation: Most rooftops act as a catchment area, which can be linked to harvesting system. Rainwater is free from chemicals which are in ground water, and that makes it suitable for irrigation and gardening. ? Reduces Demand on Ground Water: As the population increases, demand for water increases but the supply is limited. Practicing water management can help fulfil the daily demands. Disadvantages of Water Gathering ? Storage Limits: The collection and storage facilities may also impose some kind of restrictions as to how much rainwater you can use.
During the heavy downpour, the collection systems may not be able to hold all rainwater which ends in going to drains and rivers. As a result, rain water harvesting has many advantages and is being practiced all over the world at a rapid growth speed. Rainwater harvesting is a system that is gaining speed over time. Areas that experience high amounts of rainfall will benefit the most from the system and will be able to distribute water to dry lands with ease. However, the beneficial environmental impact of the system is what drives it further as of now.