The environment is the major cause of concern for the world today. And why not! After all our very existence is based on a healthy environment. Taking all aspects under consideration, rainwater harvesting is one of the many ways to benefit the environment, both directly and indirectly. Every individual rainwater harvesting system around the world is getting us closer to our anterior motive of preserving environment, and thus, the Mankind.
Do you know, for each square meter of area, about 1000 litres of water can be collected per year by using rainwater harvesting methods? Simply put, a house with an area of 200 square mtrs, can conserve 2 lakh litres of water every year. This is such a huge contribution towards saving natural water resource and replenishing groundwater. This reduces the stress felt by groundwater levels to meet the hefty demands of the growing population. This is a direct beneficial impact of using rainwater harvesting methods. In a broader sense, there is a lot more you could give back to your beloved environment.
Here is how you would be benefitting the environment, with a wise decision of installing a rainwater harvesting structure:
Maintaining the quality of local watershed & prevent flooding
We live in a watershed which is local to each one of us. A watershed is the area of land that drains into the water body, like river, lakes, stream, etc. In greener habitats, the earth itself keeps a check on the pollution of the water bodies, by preventing the heavy solid contaminants from getting into them. But in case of urban settings with buildings and hardscapes, the stormwater runs swiftly, collecting contaminants on its way.
With rainwater harvesting systems in place, this stormwater is collected, thus slowing down its runoff speed and the water is further treated with rooftop filters, to keep off the contaminants from the groundwater and surface water. This also prevents the inundation of low-lying areas, due to the floods caused by this high-speed runoff water. It thus saves many lives and damage to natural & artificial properties.
Balancing hydrological cycles & groundwater recharge in Urban Areas
The water cycle or hydrological cycle naturally allows 50% of stormwater to infiltrate back into the soil and 40% gets evaporated for the formation of clouds, which will continue to pour the water back to our land to infiltrate again. Only 10% goes as runoff.
But the scenario in the urban setup is quite contrasting; only 15% gets penetrated by the soil due to the low permeability of hardscape of urban lands. This leads to whopping 55% water to runoff. The major issue is this wasted runoff water, which, if collected by a rainwater harvesting system, and then used in the garden, could have hydrated the soil. This would also recharge the groundwater. Rainwater harvesting system bridges the broken link of water infiltration, in the hydrological cycle, especially in the urban areas.
Helps in reducing carbon footprint & mitigating the changes in climate
Every individual on this planet has a carbon footprint, which is a measure of the impact caused by their activities, on the amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) being emitted into the environment. For instance, in terms of water usage, the more water you use, the more amount of municipal tap water would need to be treated for purification and supply. Since these activities involve the use of energy in various forms (burning of fuel, emission of smoke by machines, etc.), this results in inducing the greenhouse gases (CO2 and Methane (CH4)) into the atmosphere.
Wastewater treatment plants are the world’s fifth largest source, contributing about 9% of total global CH4 emission. When people’s reliance over the municipal tap water is minimised due to the use of rainwater for household and industrial purposes, it ought to reduce their carbon footprint. This step is a huge contribution of mankind to save mother Earth from the adverse climatic changes.
Maintain healthy soils to support food demand
As rainwater harvesting slows the runoff water and makes it sink under the soil, it makes the soil pleasantly rich with nutrients and keeps it healthy. This is extremely necessary since the demand for food is increasing every minute. A total of 200,000,000 litres of water is used per second to grow food for our planet. According to an estimate by The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), there will be a need to increase agricultural production by 70% to feed projected 9 billion people by 2050. This means we would need even more amount of water.
Rainwater harvesting can help in sharing this stress of maintaining water reserves for future.
Keep your garden lush and healthy
The rainwater is free of salts, chemicals, and minerals that may found in other water sources. Also, it has the perfect pH balance and nitrate delivery, which would make your garden flourished with lush and healthy plants. A healthy and beautiful garden is the best source of clean air, carbon sink, habitat for effective pollination, and much more.
The wet and dry spells have a lesser impact on your life
Both drought and flood, are bad for the ecosystem, agriculture, and the economy. There is a loss of lives, destruction of property and the ill-effects exist for a prolong time. For example, the epidemics spread after a flood can threaten the whole civilization or the unavailability of clean drinking water can lead to severe consequences.
With reserves being maintained, by RWH structures, these ill-effects after a drought or flood can be lessened to a greater degree.
Earlier the cost of installing a rainwater harvesting system used to bother people. But the highly advantageous results of rainwater harvest systems have changed the perspective. Firstly, the rainwater harvesting system typically paybacks within the short period of time (Read our blog on how rainwater harvesting system is a great investment) and secondly, the way it helps in benefitting the environment, every potential land area is screaming for a rainwater harvest structure of its own.
Ask Chaitanya for more on rainwater harvesting
It has been more than 4 years now that Chaitanya Rain Harvest Products and Systems is delivering result-oriented solutions in the field of rainwater harvesting services and products. The best engineers from various fields of expertise in rain harvest methods and products have been providing people and farmers with consultancy over benefits of RWH systems and how they should initiate their project.