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How Rainwater Harvesting Technologies Have Improved Water Quality in India

Rainwater harvesting has come up in leaps and bounds to become one of the cheapest and convenient sources of clean water for people across India.

News18.com | Updated: July 27, 2020, 1:59 AM IST
One of the biggest ironies of India is the paucity of clean water in a country which receives abundant and widespread seasonal rainfall. This anomaly has often been attributed to poor rainwater harvesting initiatives. The few places which have implemented rainwater harvesting practices have seen quantum leaps in water security and health of their communities.

Rainwater harvesting has now become even easier with emerging technologies that can be customized to serve harvesting operations of any scale. For homes long denied access to clean water, some of these technologies can be deployed as a domestic water source, providing resource-independence to millions across India.

 A Better Design to Begin With

 New domestic rainwater harvesting systems include storage systems, conveyance systems, treatment systems and distribution systems. Each of these functions has been steadily improved over the years. The storage facility installed on the roofs of homes now comes with special designs to prevent external contamination of the water. The catchment area too is made from special natural materials, to preserve the natural freshness of the collected rainwater.

 The Right Treatment

The treatment process is where there have been the biggest advances. There are now a number of ways to cheaply and efficiently purify harvested rainwater for human consumption. Many rainwater harvesting systems utilize what is known as the Solar Disinfection Method, or SODIS, which directs the UV component of sunlight to eliminate microorganisms in the water. However, this method is highly contingent on local weather conditions, besides being more time consuming than other methods.

Chlorination of harvested rainwater is also a reliable way of treating the collected rainwater. It’s an extreme form of disinfection that is appropriate for water that’s been affected by external contamination. Usually, chlorination of water can be accomplished by the addition of stabilized bleaching powder, which is a combination of chlorine and lime. Just a gram of this concoction is enough to treat nearly 200 litres of water.

 Clean Through And Through

Domestic rainwater harvesting systems also come with advanced filtration systems. The more layered these filtration systems are, more comprehensive is the filtration. Rainwater harvesting systems usually have a four layered filtration system, consisting of gravel, charcoal and sand filters arranged in succession.

Others have innovated further to seamlessly integrate rainwater harvesting with their existing water supply infrastructure, like the Dewas filter in use in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh. This PVC pipe filter directs the harvested rainwater underground and into service tubewells, making clean water available to the entire community.

The Purists’ Choice

Rainwater harvesting is a time-honoured practice that is even more relevant today, in the face of depleting water resources and reduced access to safe drinking water. In its purest form, it’s an act of gratitude for the abundant natural gifts we receive; a feeling that lies at the heart of the Harpic News 18 Mission Paani movement, which aims to conserve water and promote hygienic living practices. You can check out their eco-friendly initiatives and become part of an effort to create a sustainable future.