Rainwater harvesting is a viable and affordable technology in an urban setting to ensure water self-sufficiency. It allows you to take control of your water supply and replace all or at least a substantial portion of your water needs for a significant part of the year with the water you collect and store.
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Installing a rainwater harvesting system need not be an expensive or laborious process. It can be configured to fit any budget, space, and need. Here’s how you can make the most of the monsoon this year:
Set up a rain barrel: This method is the most common one. It involves installing a barrel at the end of a pipe that channels rainwater from your rooftop, terrace, or verandah. You can use a large drum or trash can for this purpose. Attach a tap to the barrel and fit a hosepipe to it, and you can easily make use of the water for gardening and car washing.
Install some rain chains: This is a way to guide rooftop water into your sump or recharge well. Rain chains are an alternative to traditional closed gutter downspouts made of PVC. They make aesthetic additions to a home and garden and thus, it is quite common to spot them these days. Besides performing the valuable function of guiding rainwater from the roof into the ground, they also serve as decorative water features. A series of metallic chains do the job well, but there are several options you can choose from.
Catchment ponds: This is a traditional method of rainwater conservation. It involves making an artificial pond that collects rainwater, improves percolation, controls flooding, and recharges groundwater. It retains water temporarily after a shower, which eventually seeps into the ground. These ponds are a good option in residential communities where concretised surfaces impede the percolation of water into the ground.
Recharge wells: Recharge wells, unlike borewells, collect water and channel it into the ground, recharging the shallow aquifer. They are made using precast concrete rings and usually go to a depth of 3 to 8 metres. They collect water from paved surfaces, roads, and rooftops and push it into the earth to raise the water table. They are a good option for individual homes and residential communities.
Set up a rain garden: A rain garden is a garden of native shrubs, perennials, and flowers planted in a small depression, which is generally formed on a natural slope. It temporarily holds and soaks in rainwater runoff that flows from roofs, driveways, balconies, or lawns. Compared to a conventional lawn, rain gardens allow for 30 per cent more water to soak into the ground.
Whatever your budget, space type, roof design, unit size, and requirement, there is a way for you to collect and save rainwater, and use it for a variety of household needs — from car washing to drinking Remember, every drop counts, so catch every drop that falls this monsoon.