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Roof Water Harvesting Made at Home for Overcoming Summer Shortages

The author is postgraduate in Botany and experienced in IPR handling as well as agribusiness management with an MBA, lives in a farmhouse.

Water on the planet

Water is very important for life on earth. The earth contains 71 per cent of water. Out of the 71%, the ocean contains 96.5% of the entire water. About 2% of the water is frozen in the form of polar icebergs. Remaining 1.5% of the water only is available for human consumption. This includes the water in the rivers streams ponds and lakes wells and aquifers as well as the groundwater.

From the above, we can understand that even though the earth as a planet is a blue planet because of the abundant water reserves, only a very limited quantity is available for drinking purpose. That too, very much less quantity is available on the surface of the earth in the pure form. Rest of the water is within the surface.

Water also gets polluted because of the soil debris, decaying matter falling on it, growth of weeds, etc. Pollution of water is another alarming thing happening because of which drinking water is going waste. Unplanned use of groundwater and wastage of water results in virtual water shortage during the summer. Otherwise, water consumption is more during the summer because of the heat. Moreover, the crop plants need irrigation during the summer for the growth as well as yield. A growing population needs more and more water and the improved lifestyle needs more water for living.

Water channel connected to filter tank

Water channel connected to filter tank

Rainwater is precious

In the areas where an annual rainfall of more than 3000 millimetres fall on earth spread over 4 to 6 months, summer water shortage is faced due to no planning on water consumption.

Recently there is a lot of increasing consciousness regarding the conservation of rainwater. When above 3000 millimetres of rainwater fall on a particular area, which just flows down to the rivers via watersheds and ultimately reaches the ocean. Once it has reached the seas and oceans, it gets mixed with saltwater and becomes not fit for drinking purpose.

The water before it reaches the rivers begins to flow down the soil. People try to find ways and means to conserve the water and percolate it down to the groundwater reserves to increase the capacity of the aquifers.

When the rainwater washes down, it washes away from the litter and topsoil. Thus the water and the soil erosion takes place hand in hand. To prevent the soil erosion people are growing Guinea grass, vetiver grass and other plants which will not allow this soil erosion to take place by running water. At the same time to make the water percolate down words opening of catch pits preparing of birds and growing off plants like pineapple forms artificial barricade above the surface and make the water to go down the earth.

Industrial water wastes joining freshwater rivers make it contaminated. Prevention of contamination in the flowing rivers and streams are very important to retain available water clear and clean. Clean water is the treasure of the next century.

Water harvesting channels set for water collection

Water harvesting channels set for water collection

Roofwater harvesting

As far as the rainwater is concerned it is the purest form of water on the earth, but it does not contain enough quantities of minerals required for the nutrition of living beings. By looking from that angle the water contained in the wells are the best form of water to drink with a balanced amount of minerals in it. When the well water is not available during the summer due to the depletion of groundwater people dig borewells to extract the underground aquifers.

Water harvesting is a technique by which we can collect the purest water of the rainfall. Since there is a chance of contamination of the roof through dust and litter the matter will be filtered using a wide container and then allowed to fall on the well.

On a good rainy day, thousand square feet of the roof can harvest as much as 3000 litres of water. The rain harvesting accumulates such a good amount of water, by which, it is possible to collect an enormous quantity of water during a single rainy season. Good water harvesting arrangements are done from a single house as much as 1,00,000 litre of water can be harvested in a year in South Indian coastal conditions.

The required infrastructure is a clean roof of tiles, or metal sheet, or a concrete roof.

  • Channels and pipes are fitted to lead the water to a filter.
  • The filter is made of three layers.
  • The bottom layer is of gravels or pieces of granite.
  • The middle layer is of coke or charcoal.
  • The top layer is of clean sand.
  • All these layers are separated using mesh in between.
  • Clean water flowing out is directed to an underground sump.
  • Excess water when there is heavy rain will be made to overflow and directed to the well.

The sump capacity can be decided based on the actual requirement in the summer in which there are a water shortage and no water availability in the number of days. Based on such a calculation the dimension of the underground sump can be determined.

You can trace out materials from the construction materials and hardware shop. There are readymade channels and clamp holdings available now. The economic filter may be constructed on your own.

Underground sump construction is the costliest part. But it will prove worthy over time. You can make use of readymade well rings for easy tank building. I have put a ferro-cement base and got the 7-feet rings set over it to form a circular tank, which can hold 20,000 litres of water. I got it waterproofed with a good waterproof cement curing solution.

Roof water harvesting is trending to overcome water shortage during summer. When the surface water gets dried out and no water availability in the wells, people depend exclusively on bore wells. Under such circumstances, people are fully dependent on electricity to run submersible pump sets and bore well water sources.
If the bore well gets dried up or if the pump set goes wrong, there is no water source. When there is some water inside the tank, everything is fine, Otherwise, things become scary due to the fear of water-less days. Without water, living beings cant survive for long. The cow and pets need plenty of water in the summer. In such situations, a water harvest tank with stored water is always a support. So, think of building a roof-water harvesting system. Secure water for the family and for the dependent animals for the future.

Realizing these, many Governments are supporting the futuristic environmental safeguarding and natural resources conservation measures to ensure less burden on water supply systems.

Create a treasure of water

Water is very precious and therefore never allow it to get contaminated in the stored condition. At the time of requirement of water, if it is not available we can understand and estimate the real value of it. If we plan water conservation strategies in advance, there are all reasons to feel proud of the guaranteed future. We have seen the struggle of people in various areas for water and related poverty in civil society. It is the best prime resource for pet animals and a dairy farming unit which suffers from the drought and water shortage condition. Therefore, a well-planned strategy of water harvest will always be a relevant requirement for the future. Therefore, the value is beyond the actual cost of construction of infrastructure required.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Halemane Muralikrishna


Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on February 01, 2020:

Water is becoming scarce day by day. In such situations, we must conserve water and use judiciously, understanding its value for life.

Jnanesh Sharma H from South India on January 30, 2020:

Wow, Roof water harvesting is an interesting process, It is very interesting to know much about it. Thank you for being informative.

Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on November 17, 2019:

Thank you Ms Shubhra and Thank you Ms Prantika for your appreciation of the subject. Independence for natural resources availability is the basic need for a sustainable future. Keep reading.

Prantika Samanta from Kolkata, India on November 17, 2019:

An important topic that needs our immediate attention. It is high time we should take actions. Well explained. Thank you for sharing the article and spreading awareness.

Shubhra on November 17, 2019:

Innovative ideas sir