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Monday, June 28, 2010

Advantages nd Disadvantages of Rain Water Harvesting

Water is one of those commodities which have to be used with caution. This is true in countries which have a tropical climate. In particular reference to Australia, where dry condition prevails, scarcity of water during dry season is more rampant. The scarcity of water is more felt by those who have gardens, particularly, if one has plants which require frequent watering. Some plants and turf requires constant watering. But, this can be overcome by harvesting the rain water during the rainy season.

A rainwater collection system can be an excellent alternative source for good quality water. Like all things, rainwater collection has advantages and disadvantages you should be aware of before you decide to begin a rainwater collection system of your own. Being aware of some of the simple advantages and disadvantages will help you make an informed decision.


Rain water harvesting is a simple method of collecting the water when it rains and using it later when the need for it arises. In villages or jungles this happens by the natural process. But, in cities this is not as possible. According to the convention method of designing houses, water collected from the roof of the house is all let out to the road. This, apart from flooding the road, would also clog the storm water drain. Finally it would join the sewage water. But, this wastage of water could be avoided by properly collecting the rain water. The rain water from the roof is filtered in three stages and then directed to a baby well or to the existing well or to a sump through a PVC pipe. This simple process costs around RS.75,000/-. Water so harvested will be more or less sufficient to meet the requirement routine domestic use and for the backyard garden and one need not look to the sky for water during dry season.


It is said that rain water is purer than the water treated with chlorine. The reason is actually quite simple. Rain water is created through the natural process of evaporation. It also contains minerals and compounds necessary for healthy growth of life on this planet. It may be possible to store the water supplied by the municipal authority for both domestic and gardening purposes. But the harvested rain water is more preferred as this is the purest water. With this, we get pure water for all domestic purposes. Further, even the plants in the backyard will get pure water. Further, there is savings in terms of water bill. In addition to this, the under ground water level also increases. So, rain water harvesting is the very best remedy to reduce the dependence on municipal water supply and to increase the under ground water level


1. Simple Construction - The construction of rainwater collection systems is not complicated and most people can easily build their own system with readily available materials.

2. Ease of Maintenance - The operation and maintenance of a household rainwater collection system is controlled by the individual without having to rely upon the maintenance practices of a municipally controlled water system

3. Water Quality - Rainwater is generally one of the better sources of an alternate water supply when compared with other sources of water that may be available.

4. Convenience - Rainwater collection provides a convenient source of water at the immediate place where it will be used or consumed.

5. Systems are Flexible and Adaptable - Rainwater collection systems can be adapted to suit most individual circumstances and to fit most any household’s budget.


• The annual rainfall is limited to a minimum of roughly 2000 mm/year and should be spread in at least two (long) rain-periods of three months without total drought in between.

• Cost per capita is higher for a rainwater harvesting system than for a communal pump or well.

• Personal systems do not improve social activities (nor do they necessarily spoil them).

• Some kind of organisation, structure or retailer should be and stay present after construction to supply the users of spare parts and repair materials.

1. High Initial investment Costs - The main cost of a rainwater collection system generally occurs during the initial construction phase and no benefit is derived until the system is completed.

2. Regular Maintenance - Regular maintenance, cleaning and repair will be required for the operation of a successful rainwater collection system.

3. Vulnerable Water Quality - The quality of rainwater can be affected by air pollution, insects, and dirt or organic matter. The type and kind of construction materials used can also adversely affect water quality.

4. Water Supply is Climate Dependent - Droughts or long periods of time with little or no rain can cause serious problems with your supply of water.

5. Storage Capacity Limits Supply - The supply of water from a rainwater collection system is not only limited by the amount of rainfall but also by the size of the collection area and your storage facilities.

Rainwater is a source of water that can provide a cost effective and alternative source of good quality water.

Staying above the water line!

By Harsh