Rainwater Harvesting at Home – Simple, Yet Effective Methods

There is a common saying, “Charity begins at home”. This may look odd, but we can associate this saying with water preservation technique called rainwater harvesting. Imagine the quantity of rainwater we could save if every possible house or building structure in India starts to take rainwater harvesting measures! At least, these households or buildings can preserve a certain percentage of required water quantity, thus lowering some of the pressure over the depleting natural ground water.

The idea is very simple; setup either simple or somewhat sophisticated rainwater harvesting systems in your house or in a building having several apartments, for collecting and storing the water poured down as rain. The care must be taken that the stored water does not contaminate & becomes the ground for breeding diseases. For this purpose, a minor investment is needed on your individual or collective part.

Common components of rainwater harvesting system

Every rainwater harvesting system requires the following four components.

  1. A catchment area, which is usually the roof of the house or a building. Both, the flat or sloped roof can be used as a catchment area. For sloped roofs, the gutters can be attached at the edges to collect the rainwater.
  2. A system of pipes to direct the rainwater from the catchment area towards the storage tank or structure.
  3. Filtration material to prevent dust, twigs, leaves, stones, and other debris from being carried away by rainwater into the storage structure. The major materials used for filtration of water includes charcoal, sand, PVC pipe, and sponge.
  4. And of course, a tank or concrete structure to store the rainwater. In certain methods, some quantity of water is also allowed to percolate into the land to contribute into renewing the depleted groundwater.

What all types of rainwater structures you can build at your home?

There are many ways you can set up a rainwater harvesting system at your home. The choice would be influenced by the following factors:

  1. Type of catchment area
  2. Availability of land
  3. Budget
  4. And the water requirement of the household

Verify each of the above dependencies and chose the most apposite method from the list underneath

Rain barrel – Easy solution for every house

This is the simplest method of rainwater harvesting. A downspout attached to the rooftop directs the rainwater from the roof into a barrel-shaped structure where it can be stored for the household use. The storage barrel can be made of any material- plastic, cement, metal, wood, fiberglass or copper.

The cost of the system will majorly depend upon how much quantity of water you seek to manage with the storage. This basic rain barrel method can provide enough supply for household water requirements like gardening and flushing. The maintenance & cost of this system tends to increase if the stored water is desired for potable (drinking & cooking) use as well.
A care must be taken to prevent breeding of mosquitoes on the stagnant water. For this purpose, screen the top of the barrel and the downspout.

Rain Garden – For greener housing societies

The rain garden is a depression in a regular garden or a lawn which is filled with native shrubs, perennials, and flowering plants. This rain garden helps in soaking the run-off water (flowing water from roof-top, driveways, patios or lawn) 30% more than that of a conventional lawn.

The rain gardens may not provide stored surface water, but they increase groundwater levels which can be extracted by us via hand pumps or underground water tanks or electric water motor.

A typical rain garden should be built with an area about 20% size of the roof, patio or pavement that would be draining water into it. This factor affects the cost of its construction, along with the property’s soil type and types of plants being chosen.

System for recharging installed borewells

Recharging the groundwater is equally important for having an uninterrupted supply of water in the houses through water pumps or a handpump. If your property has a borewell, then installing a recharge system by creating a recharge pit of 1 meter diameter and 6 meters in depth, lined with concrete rings having perforation and letting the rainwater into them through the pipes having a filter at the end of open dug well, can naturally replenish the ground waterbeds, thus providing, more water with reduced salinity, turbidity and clean water to the borewells.

Rain Saucer – For more independent & open space

For houses having large open areas, especially big housing societies or office premises, rain saucers are the economical structure for harvesting those drops of life. It is a DIY kind of project which involves placement of the storage tank, attached with the inverted umbrella shaped saucers which act like a funnel. The rainwater is caught directly from the sky reduces the chance of any impurity or contamination. These rain saucers may vary in size and one can install multiple smaller structures rather than a big one.

Rain reservoir- for greater water needs

The major issue with reusing of rainwater from the rooftops is the availability of clean, pollution-free water. Before this runoff water gets stored for surface use or for replenishing the groundwater levels, it must be filtered, either by including filters at the downspout (as mentioned in previous methods), or alternatively (if your water needs are extensive), make a rain reservoir which are like tanks, attached with rooftops by series of pipe arrangements. These tanks can store water in large quantities which is filtered here before they reach the rainwater harvest tanks.

Installing a rainwater harvesting structure in your home is the best way to cope up with the water scarcity issues. But it should not only be limited to this; even in the areas where there are no such issues, these methods must be deployed for lowering the extraction stress on groundwater, saving energy consumption, reducing water & electricity bills and preserving the natural environment. Every saved drop counts.

Look for Chaitanya products store and services for your RWH needs

From individual household to gated housing complex, Chaitanya has a range of rainwater harvesting products and services, that would ease out this process for you. Their affordable RWH services will help you with initial surveys and reports to understand the feasibility of the required RWH system. If you are looking for sophisticated Filter screens for your drainage pipes or gutters for your sloped rooftops or even gravel & pipes collar rings for your borewell recharge systems, Chaitanya is a one-stop place for all your rainwater harvesting needs.


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