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Rainwater Harvesting

Why?
Economics

Reduces water bills


Reduced water demand - water supply utility saves money on treatment and
pumping
Reduces cost of infrastructure necessary for water supply

Environment

Energy saved no pumping of water to our homes


If water is hard, adding soft rainwater improves water quality
Improves groundwater situation
Reduces demand for water at city/village level

Other

Simple, cost-effective, easy to construct and maintain


Viable in urban and rural areas, slums, low income housing, apartments
Can offset the need for multipurpose river projects

How?
The concept is simple
Collect
Store and use
Recharge

Not new to India

Source: http://blog.shunya.net/shunyas_blog/2008/08/dholavira-a-har.html

Rainwater storage reservoir at Dholavira (Rann of Kutch) Harappan


civilization (2500-1900 BC)

Traditional rainwater harvesting systems

Mountainous rain-shadow regions like Spiti valley

Flood plains to check floods during


monsoons

The Deccan plateau which has only monsoon fed


(no perennial) rivers

Widely prevalent in all parts of India

Traditional rainwater harvesting systems


Mountainous regions with heavy rainfall to check erosion and
to provide water in non-rainy months since water
distribution systems are not easy to install

Desert and arid region , Rajasthan, Rann of Kutch etc.

Widely prevalent in all parts of India

Centuries old Kul irrigation in the Western Himalayan


mountainous rain-shadow regions like Spiti valley
Glacier melt is diverted into the head of a kul or a diversion channel

These kuls channel the water over


many kilometers

They lead into a tank in the village from which water flow is regulated

Source: http://www.rainwaterharvesting.org/methods/traditional/kuls.htm Accessed November 2008

Inundation
channel Bengal
Flood plains

Floodwater entered the fields through the inundation canals


The waters brought in rich silt and fish

Em
ba
nk
m
en
t

The fish fed on mosquito larva and helped check malaria in this
region.

r
ve
i
R

Fields
Ka n
a/ N

Fields

adi

Khadins of Jaisalmer
(harvesting structures for agricultural fields)

Designed by the Paliwal Brahmins of Jaisalmer, in 15th century

Similar system also practised in Ur (Iraq), the Negev desert, and in south west Colorado
An embankment prevents water from flowing away. Collected water seeps into the soil.
This water saturates land, which is then used for growing crops

Johads of
Rajasthan
Earthen or masonry rainwater harvesting structure,
(provide water
for domestic
for providing water for domestic use to the communities.
use)

Photo by L R Burdak

Johads of Rajasthan
(provide water for domestic use)

Photo by Farhad Contractor, taken in Alwar district of Rajasthan

Read about revival of Johads in Reviving Indias water harvesting systems

Tankas of Bikaner, Barmer, Phalodi - Rajast


Pipes from the rooftop lead
rainwater into the tanka
catchment

Note the slope provided for the rainwater


(palar pani) to flow into the tanka

Tankas for storing drinking water


Thar desert region of Rajasthan (Barmer, Bikaner,
Pallodi)

Unique underground structures of


various shapes and sizes to collect
rain water for drinking purposes

Sometimes used to store drinking


water brought from far off wells in
case the rainwater gets exhausted

Constructed in court yards or in


front of houses and temples,

Built both for individual households


as well as for village communities

Tankas of Bikaner, Barmer, Phalodi - Rajasth

Main source of drinking water in these areas

People protect and maintain them

Just before the on-set of the monsoon, the catchment area of the Tanka is cleaned up
to remove all possible pollutants

Human activity and grazing of cattle in the area is prohibited

First spell of rain not collected

Tankas of Bikaner, Barmer, Phalodi - Rajasth


Provide enough drinking water to tide over the water scarcity during the summer
months
even though average annual rainfall is as less as 200 mm to 300 mm.

In many cases the stored water lasts for the whole year.

These simple traditional water harvesting structures are useful even during years of
below-normal rainfall.

http://twofloatingweeds.blogspot.com

http://pashunz.blogspot.com/2006_12_01_archive.html

Rainwater harvesting in Rajasthan today

Rajasthan Canal (Indira Gandhi Nahar Project) brings water (for agriculture and
domestic use) from the Sutlej and Beas rivers

Rainwater harvesting was on decline

Being revived in many parts of Rajasthan: traditional methods with some


For more information, check out
improvisations
http://www.rainwaterharvesting.org/Rural/Improvised.htm000

Deccan Plateau
Then

Water harvested in a system of tanks that


were fed by seasonal streams

Tanks recharged groundwater

Deccan
Plateau

Now

Tanks neglected

Many regions facing water scarcity

Importance of rainwater harvesting being realized

Rooftop rainwater harvesting getting a boost

No perennial
rivers

Rainwater harvesting in the


North Eastern states

Mountainous regions with heavy rainfall

Uneven distribution of population

http://media-2.web.britannica.com

Abundant water resources but not tapped due to rugged


terrain
Face water scarcity in areas of high population density

Bamboo drip irrigation


in Meghalaya

Bamboo drip irrigation in


Meghalaya

200-year-old system

Used by tribal farmers of Khasi and Jaintia hills

Bamboos divert water from perennial springs


on hilltops to the lower reaches by gravity

Used to irrigate the betel leaf or black pepper


crops

18-20 litres of water entering the bamboo pipe


system per minute gets transported over
several
hundred meters and finally gets reduced to 2080
drops per minute at the site of the plant.

Attempts made to introduce modern pipe


systems but farmers prefer to use their
indigenous form of irrigation.

For more information on


Rain Water Harvesting Systems
in different regions

Check out http://www.rainwaterharvesting.org/eco/eco-region.htm

Read the book Dying wisdom published by the Centre for Science and
Environment (CSE)

Brief notes on some traditional water harvesting structures are available at


Traditional Water Harvesting Structures information sheet on
www.indiawaterportal.org

Rainwater harvesting today


Collection
(Catchment)
Flat / sloping roofs

Transportation: Downtake
pipes

Leaf and grit


filter, First
flush device

Storage in
tanks

Recharge into open wells /


borewells / percolation pits /
trenches

Case studies of interest Legislation


Tamil Nadu
Rainwater harvesting made mandatory for all the buildings in the
state

If the rain water harvesting structure is not provided as required,


an authorized person can implement a rain water harvesting
structure and the cost is recovered along with property tax".
Citizens are also warned about disconnection of water supply
connection if rainwater harvesting structures are not provided.
To learn more about policies and legislation (India and abroad),
check out http://www.rainwaterharvesting.org/Policy/Legislation.htm

Case studies of interest Implementation


Karnataka

Gendathur (Karnataka) - a remote village in Mysore district

The first village to have installed a maximum number of rainwater harvesting


systems.

Each of the 200 houses have a rooftop rainwater harvesting system

The Mysore Zilla Panchayat, an NGO (MYRADA) and the villagers worked together

The villagers contributed 20% of the project cost.

The villagers of Gendathur use rainwater for all their everyday needs; they even use
it for drinking and cooking.

Some people

Chewang Norphel, 62, of Leh, Ladakh.

In Ladakh, the annual average rainfall is 50 mm.


The only source of water are glaciers, which melt in late
summer.

Water shortage felt at the start of the cropping season in early


summer (May to June)

Taps left open in winter, so that water does not freeze in the
pipelines (Water wasted in winter)

Norphel builds artificial glaciers by channelising glacier water


into depressions lying in the shadow area of a mountain, hidden
from sunlight.

He places half-inch-wide iron pipes at the edge of the


depression. As the water keeps collecting in the pipes, it
freezes. As more water seeps in, it pushes out the frozen
blocks, and in turn, itself gets frozen. This keeps happening in a
continuous cycle, and these frozen blocks create a clean,
artificial glacier.

Norphel has made four such glaciers.


To learn more about people who are making a difference,
check out
http://www.rainwaterharvesting.org/People/People.htm

Want to play

Divide the class into 5 teams


Team A selects 2 persons who will pick the clue and draw it out on
the board for the other team members to guess.

If the guessers get the right answer in 30 secs, they get 5 points
If the guessers get the right answer in 60 secs, they get 3 points
Otherwise
The chance then goes to Team B and so on.

Rules
No mouthing of words
No names or numbers to be written
No actions

Turn off the projector now, so that


the whole class cannot see the clues.
The 2 representatives of Team A
can come up to the computer and
see the clue.

Ready?

Round
1
Team A Khadin
Team
Team
Team
Team

B Johad
C Tanka
D Kul
E Inundation channel

Round
2

Team
Team
Team
Team
Team

A Dholavira
B Spiti valley
C Rann of Kutch
D Deccan Plateau
E Jaisalmer

Round
3
Team A Thar
Team
Team
Team
Team

B North East India


C Bamboo drip irrigation
D Indira Gandhi Canal
E Gendathur

Round
4
Team
Team
Team
Team
Team

A collection
B storage
C recharge
D filter
E pipelines