Rainwater harvesting as the name suggests is the harvesting of rainwater in the sense it is a process involving collection and the storage of rain water using the help of artificially designed systems that runs off natural or man-made catchment areas like the roof top, compounds, rock surface, hill slopes, artificially repaired impervious or semi-pervious land surface. Quite obviously a number of factors play a vital role in the amount of water harvested, some of these factors are the frequency and the quantity of rainfall, catchments characteristics, water demands and the quantum of runoff and above all else the speed and ease with which the rainwater percolates through the subsoil to recharge the ground water.
The advantages related to rainwater harvesting are listed below.
- It makes use of natural resources and reduces flooding, storm water runoff, erosion and contamination of surface water with pesticides, sediment, metals and fertilizers.
- Reduces the need for imported water
- Happens to be an excellent source of water for landscape irrigation with no chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine and no dissolved salts and minerals from the soil.
- Home systems can be relatively simple to install and operate; it could very well reduce your water bill.
- Promotes both water and energy conservation.
- Does not require a filtration system for landscape irrigation
While the disadvantages related to rainwater harvesting are
- Limited and uncertain local rainfall
- Can be costly to install. Rainwater storage and delivery systems cost tend to run on the higher side.
- The payback period or the returns one derives from the system varies depending on the size of storage and complexity of the system
- Can take considerable amount of time to “pay for itself”, in the sense to make up for its installation and making charges.
- Requires some technical skills to install and provide regular maintenance as most engineered things do.
- If not installed correctly, may attract mosquitoes and other waterborne illnesses.
- Certain rooftops may seep chemicals, pesticides and other pollutants into the water that can harm the plants.
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