Major Components Involved In Rainwater Harvesting
One of the best and most Eco-friendly ways to save water, by far, is rainwater harvesting. In this article, we are going to discuss the main processes involved in it.
Rainwater harvesting is the practice of accumulation and deposition of rainwater for reuse. The rainwater can be collected from rooftops or rivers, and in many areas the water is redirected to a storage area such as a reservoir. The water collected can be used in a household for various purpose, including gardening, washing cars, cleaning and what not. If properly treated, this water can be put to other domestic uses as well, such as bathing, washing dishes and even drinking (after proper filtration, of course). Considering the rate at which fresh water bodies are drying up, rainwater harvesting is a simple and effective practice to maintain a self supply of water for households.
Components of a rainwater harvesting system
A rainwater harvesting system comprises various stages which involve transporation of collected water through pipes or drainage systems, filtration and storage for reuse. The common components are:
1) Catchments: Catchment is the surface which receives the rainfall and supplies water to the entire system. The catchment is generally a rooftop. A roof made of galvanized iron or reinforced cement concrete can be used for harvesting.
2) Mesh: The mesh prevents the debris from passing along with the water.
3) Gutters: Channels around the edge of the collecting roof are used to transport the collection to storage tanks. Gutters can be made using materials such as galvanized iron sheets or 20 or 22 gauge, folded to appropriate shapes. Gutters should be reinforced so that they don’t give way when there is excess rain and water is fully loaded.
4) Conduits: Conduits are pipelines to carry collected rainwater from catchments or rooftops to the harvesting systems. They can be made of any material, but generally polyvinyl chlodride or galvanized iron is used.
5) First-Flushing: First flush is a device that ensures the water from the first spell of rain is flushed out and rejected from the system. This is important since the first spell of rain carries maximum pollutants from the atmosphere.
6) Filter: The filter removes suspended pollutants from the collected rainwater. Filtering materials include fibre, coarse gravel and sand layers that help remove debris from water before allowing it to enter the storage tank.
7) Storage Facility: The storage facility can be flexible as there are tanks of various sizes and capacities. This depends entirely upon the geography of the terrain. Proper considerations need to be made for cleaning and disinfection of the container.
8) Recharge structures: Rainwater collected can be charged into groundwater through any structure like a well, recharge trench or pit.
Even though rainwater harvesting is an indigineous and traditional technique, it has stood the tests of time and is providing a means of usable fresh water for a huge chunk of our population. Applying a few simple tweaks to a person’s house can help make them self sustaining in the case of water. Further adoption will only help us move away from fresh water bodies for our needs and give us new direction in our quest for total dependence upon renewable resources.