Rainwater harvesting is the accumulation and deposition of rainwater for reuse on-site, rather than allowing it to run off.
Rainwater can be collected from
roofs, and in many places the water collected is redirected to a deep pit (well, shaft, or borehole), a reservoir with percolation, or collected from
dew or fog with nets or other tools. Its uses include water for gardens,
livestock,irrigation, domestic use with proper treatment, and indoor heating for houses etc. The harvested water can also be used as
drinking water, longer-term storage and for other purposes such as groundwater recharge.
Rainwater harvesting provides an independent water supply during regional water restrictions and in developed countries is often used to supplement the main supply. It provides water when there is a drought, can help mitigate flooding of low-lying areas, and reduces demand on wells which may enable groundwater levels to be sustained. It also helps in the availability of potable water as rainwater is substantially free of salinity and other salts. Application of rainwater harvesting in urban water system provides a substantial benefit for both
water supply and
wastewater subsystems by reducing the need for
clean water in
water distribution system, less generatedstormwater in
sewer system,as well as a reduction in stormwater runoff polluting freshwater bodies.
There has been a large body of work focused on the development of Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Costing methodologies to assess the level of environmental impacts and money that can be saved by implementing rainwater harvesting systems.
More development and knowledge is required to understand the benefits rainwater harvesting can provide to agriculture. Many countries especially those with an arid environment use rainwater harvesting as a cheap and reliable source of clean water.To enhance irrigationin arid environments, ridges of soil are constructed in order to trap and prevent rainwater from running down hills and slopes. Even in periods of low rainfall, enough water is collected in order for crops to grow.Water can be collected from roofs, dams, and ponds can be constructed in order to hold large quantities of rainwater so that even on days where there is little to no rainfall, there is enough available to irrigate crops.