The rainy season is here! Like the poet Samuel Taylor says “Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink!” Have you ever wondered why there are constant concerns about availability of water in the future, despite receiving good rainfall?
As we all know, part of the rain-water gets collected in ponds, lakes and rivers, some of it goes into the ground and nourishes plants, while some of it gets evaporated. Very importantly, the water that seeps into the ground, also raises the ground water levels (which are important especially in India, because of the dependence on wells and bore-wells as sources of drinking water).
However with the rate at which buildings and other constructions are coming up in our cities, a lot of the water gets blocked on the roof-tops of buildings and gets evaporated, without reaching the ground. To add to it, tarred and concretized roads in urban areas do not allow water to seep into the ground.
Worldwide statistics show that there is inadequate access to water for drinking and sanitization purposes for billions of people across countries. Additionally excessive use of available ground water is affecting agricultural produce negatively.
In recent years, rain water harvesting has been used to aid this situation. Rain water is very safe for drinking and other purposes after basic treatment, besides using it for watering plants, washing clothes, and other domestic purposes. It does not have the contamination that is present in ground water due to minerals that leach into the ground, but could but be affected by the level of air pollution in the city.
Across the world, presently rooftop rainwater harvesting is practiced, especially in countries like China, Brazil , the USA to name a few. The water collected through this is used for domestic use, irrigation of crops and also help ground water levels.
Interestingly, in ancient times, rain water harvesting was done in Tamil Nadu, by the kings of Chola dynasty. A large tank was built in the Cuddalore district to store water for drinking and irrigation purposed. Presently too, rain water harvesting is mandatory for buildings in many cities, in India.
In 1998, the then president of India K.R. Narayanan suggested setting up a harvesting system at the Rashtrapati Bhavan to supply water for certain needs. Consequently underground storage tanks, bunds and other collection areas were set up!
Rain water tanks and supply systems are easily available, but there are simpler ways too.In ancient times, bamboo pipes were used for directing the water into a collection areas! You can also make your own simple one by using a bucket or deep wide vessel, and covering it with a net to avoid any insects or other pollutants to fall into the water. After collection, filters which are easily available, may also be needed, especially if it is to be used for drinking. However a more effective way is to contact the local municipality or organizations working on such projects and set up a proper system. Each and every effort helps!
This story was earlier published in the Student Edition of The New Indian Express..
Sindhu Ramachandran is an engineer but with a passion for people and learning, found her calling in the domains of human behaviour and connection. What followed is an eight-year research into ‘Intentions of Human Behaviour’ which has now morphed into a project called “Simplifying Life!” Deeply spiritual in her outlook, she is an avid reader, an amateur documentary-film maker and very interested in mystical sciences, besides dabbling in writing when inspired by the environment around her!