How Rainwater Harvesting can save us from water scarcity

Our world is running out of water quickly. Most of our freshwater is frozen in glaciers, and the underground water is depleting. Over 600 million people in India face severe water shortages. We must do something to preserve our water levels, not only for ourselves but for the future generations to come. One such way is by using Rainwater Harvesting.

Preserving rainwater – more precious than gold. Photo source: josemdelaa

History of Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting means collecting and storing rainwater for future use. It is an ancient technique; traces of it have been found in China over 6000 years ago. From 3000 B.C to 1800 A.D, rainwater harvesting was one of India’s most used water collection methods. 

In India, the practice started over 1000 years ago. The Chola Dynasty built a 16km tank dedicated to rainwater harvesting in the 11th century. Ever since, the practice has become less and less relevant because technology has developed and now, we use underground water. Yet, suddenly, people are starting to recommend that we restart such practices. 

How Rainwater Harvesting works. Photo source: Civiconcepts

Rainwater Harvesting, the need of the hour

The increase in climate change is leading to a decrease in water levels by a whopping 300% in 2018. Moreover, overpopulation has resulted in a higher land occupation, which further results in the depletion of Earth’s water bodies. The demand means that future generations might get little to no water.

Scientists predict the Earth’s freshwater supply to run out by 2050. Therefore, we must find other ways to conserve and store water for industrial and personal consumption. Currently, many people in villages in the Nabarangpur district of Odisha, have no access to clean water. Despite spending their own money and digging a new well, during summers, it is still not fit for drinking as it becomes muddy. As they do not have access to piped water, they are forced to drink the muddy water and face health hazards.

Photo source: Chennai Rainwater Harvesting

How Tamil Nadu adopted Rainwater Harvesting

For instance, Tamil Nadu has launched programs to make it compulsory to use rainwater harvesting to slow down underground water depletion. The campaign was launched in 2001 by the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, the late J Jayalalithaa. It was introduced to improve groundwater levels. However, it got off to a rough start as it faced resistance as the main focus was on government-owned apartments and residents. The scheme’s impact has now led to regions with a lack of water, for example, Chennai, to increase overall water levels. Residents have also supported it as they all depend on groundwater for their daily lives.

Other states should also follow Tamil Nadu by launching their water harvesting campaigns. Although it may find resistance at first, it could be effective over time. I believe rainwater harvesting could help conserve the underground water levels in several parts of India where there’s water scarcity.

How exactly does rainwater harvesting work?

The rainwater harvesting units are designed to capture rainwater by directing it from large surfaces, usually the roof, to an underground or over-ground holding tank. The harvested rainwater is filtered and then pumped directly to a tank which can be used for further use. Although it does take a lot of money INR 20,000-50,000, when you look at it from a long-term investment perspective, it could be very useful as you will not need to pay any water bills, considering there is a good supply of stored rainwater during the rest of the year.

Bangalore has the second-highest rainwater harvesting units after Tamil Nadu, with over 1.5 lakh installations. An apartment in Bangalore provides its homeowners with water using rainwater harvesting. The result? A profit of INR 3 lakh every year says Citizen Matters.

Rainwater harvesting tank. Photo source: Rainwater Harvesting Urban (SSM Info)

Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting could prevent villagers, for example, from the Semlidora village in the Nabarangpur district from walking miles to get water. 

It would also help urban and industrial areas by reducing water bills. Rainwater harvesting can considerably help reduce the demand for water as well. Additionally, it is also environmentally friendly; it helps prevent soil erosion and flooding around buildings by taking a lot of pressure off the city drainage systems. The collection of water also mitigates the effects of drought.

A YouTube video posted by NDTV showed a villager named AR Shivakumar from Bangalore not paying water bills for over 22 years. Not only should villagers learn from AR Shivakumar, everyone should, from urban areas too. Together, we can all restore the water levels around the world, preserving fresh water for the generations to come.

Aarush Mohan

Contributor: Aarush Mohan

About our Writing Program Student
A teenager with a love for football and gaming, Aarush Mohan is a budding pianist and also plays the violin. He is currently teaching piano to an 8-year-old in his neighbourhood. This 8th Grader from Greenwood High International School, Bangalore has lived in Indonesia, Hong Kong and Japan.


Why we must harvest rainwater – The Hindu

The Many Benefits and Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting – Water Cache

Rainwater Harvesting – Byjus

Water Conservation : Rainwater Harvesting – MyGov Blogs

Rainwater harvesting in India: Traditional and contemporary – India Water Portal

Rs 3 lakh savings per year, and borewells that never dry: What a Bengaluru apartment gained from RWH – Bengaluru Citizen Matters

#1 in the top 5 RWH agencies in India 2017 – 26 – Rainwater Harvesting in India | D&D Ecotech Services

How Rainwater Harvesting works – Waterways Environmental

How Important is Rainwater Harvesting in Indian Cities – Nkrealtors

Rain Water Harvesting | Save Indian FarmersTN’s success story: Rain water harvesting | Latest News India – Hindustan Times

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Tanya is a graduate in Sociology from Sophia College, Mumbai, a post-graduate in Communications and Media from SNDT Women’s University in Mumbai and holds a Master's Degree in Journalis & Mass Communications from Chandigarh University. A former writing mentor and a seasoned lifestyle writer, Tanya writes columns on The Lifestyle Portal of life and living.

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