Published On: Tue, Sep 8th, 2015

Why Rain Water Harvesting is must?

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By Solar Times Bureau

rainwater_harvestingFresh water is the life blood of the planet; no one can survive without it. Rain is the only source of fresh water on Earth. We need to save every drop to maintain water security for generations to come.

-   70% water is used for agriculture – ‘to ensure food security’ the ground water availability is must.

-   1 Billion people facing water scarcity – 783 million people have no access to clean water.

-   40% more demand than supply – domestic, commercial, Industrial and agriculture.

-  Forests are nature’s ‘Water Factories’, capturing, storing, purifying and gradually releasing clean water to towns and cities downstream – more than  1/3rd of large cities get water from forests – we lose 75000 football fields worth forests every single day.

The Indian scriptures not only hold the knowledge about exploring the means of storing rain-water but also exploring the methods to locate ground water sources. Many Sanskrit works like Brihatsamhita and Arthashastra of Kautilya, describe the interior of the earth to be full of water channels, like the veins

of the human body, further branching into hundreds and thousands of streams at different levels

giving life to different plants and trees on the earth. These works claim that with the help of certain

plants and trees, ground water resources can be explored in the areas where surface water is not

available. There are other methods like smell of the soil and character of rocks can also be assessed whether water is sweet, saline, acidic or bitter.

Worshipping Plants and Rivers in fact is an important tool to preserve them.

The earth is 70% water, though we have only 2.7% fresh water to meet all kind of water requirements. 2/3rd of this is of no use as it’s trapped into snow & Ice, 38% is underground water. So less than 1% fresh water we have in the form of rivers and ponds, but 70% of which is contaminated.

Some water tables are dropping very quickly, as people drain aquifers for industry, agriculture, and private use. Scientists call this process “aquifer depletion.”

According to National Geographic’s Freshwater Initiative in Water Currents on February 3, 2015-

‘All four of the world’s top irrigators – China, India, Pakistan and the United States – are pumping groundwater faster than it is being replenished in crucial crop-producing areas. But the problem is most serious in India, where 60 percent of irrigated farming depends on groundwater.

Groundwater depletion has long been a problem in India, driven by the availability of inexpensive motorized pumps and heavy subsidies for electricity and fuel. With flat rates for electricity, for example, the marginal cost of pumping additional water is effectively zero. As a result, farmers race to pump as much as they can before their neighbors get the last drop.

As underground water levels drop, rivers and wetlands that depend on groundwater for base flows can dry up as well.

Without strict regulations or economic incentives to slow the pumping, and active efforts to recharge the depleted aquifers, India faces a future of food insecurity and declining rural economies.

The underground water channels are drying up due to the extensive amount of withdrawal. These empty channels accumulate the radiation from the Sun constantly causing the destruction of plants by excessive heat, also adding up the Global Warming. The plant temperature at which tissue dies is around 115*F (46.1*C). Earth is facing a situation of dehydration as the water levels below the surface is depleting with each day, demanding water from glaciers above the surface. That’s how the glaciers are melting down rapidly and irregular ice storm occurs to quench the thirst of the earth.

Water is a limited resource; we have to use it responsibly. Our ancestors have taught us to respect it by placing a pot full of water with every important occasion of worship. The waste of every single drop of water will cause loss of money as goddess Laxmi lives in water according to our scriptures. We can save 30% – 40% water by using low flow water fixtures, eliminating the use of showers for bathing, using washing machines only when it is fully loaded. Stop the flow while brushing teeth, applying soap on utensils and in many more ways.

Rooftop RWH in housing societies is must as the natural percolation rate is almost nil in urban areas due to cemented roads and heavy pavement covers. This will support to meet 30% water requirement depending upon the kind of RWH System for recharge implemented. Builders must fulfill their responsibility of installing an effective RWH systems right from the planning stage. For old construction the Municipal Authorities should come forward and offer good incentives for the implementation of RWH systems. After all the water management is also handled by BMC.

For rural area where farming is prominent, need to implement the RWH Systems which will help to recharge as much as around 80% of the rain water. Such intelligent Systems will raise the underground moisture by 2.5 times more and help farmers to grow more number of crops in a year. It will also stop the soil run off, resulting higher Quality and Quantity of crops thus will improve the economic condition of farmers. Proper geophysical surveys will help to design a suitable RWH System which will restore and recharge the highest amount of rain water. Underground water is considered the best for portable use as the rocks and underground water channels have the natural purification mechanism.

An intelligent and strategic planning will solve the problem of Urban as well as the Rural water supply problem if Government and CSR comes together. Good NGOs working for the environmental issues can very well be utilized as coordinators or the intermediaries.

God is showering ample rain every year for free, lets conserve each drop if it and secure the future of our children and generations to come.

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