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Rainwater harvesting
Category: Water | By RotaryGlobal, 17-Sep-2010 | Viewed 4531  Comments 0 | Original Source
There are two problems regarding fresh drinking water that I hear about often. One is that it is running out. Aquifers are nearing depletion, glaciers disappearing, and demand is exploding along with global population. The second problem, maybe the same problem in essence, is that developing countries are plagued with a lack of fresh water for drinking and sanitation. This shortage is the root cause of death, more than any plague or epidemic.

I heard about rain water harvesting a while ago and it struck me as a renewable solution (the only kind of real solution). At the same time, it is a low-tech solution. I may be naive but this seems the solution that developing countries need to conquer this apparently insurmountable problem. I wonder how much of the knowledge of rain water harvesting is reaching the people who could use it the most. I wonder if those people trying to provide water to those in need, know of this solution.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rainwater Harvesting

Catching hillside run-off water
"Rainwater harvesting is the accumulating and storing, of rainwater.[1] It has been used to provide drinking water, water for livestock, water for irrigation or to refill aquifers in a process called groundwater recharge. Rainwater collected from the roofs of houses, tents and local institutions, or from specially prepared areas of ground, can make an important contribution to drinking water. In some cases, rainwater may be the only available, or economical, water source. Rainwater systems are simple to construct from inexpensive local materials, and are potentially successful in most habitable locations. Roof rainwater can be of good quality and may not require treatment before consumption. Although some rooftop materials may produce rainwater that is harmful to human health, it can be useful in flushing toilets, washing clothes, watering the garden and washing cars; these uses alone halve the amount of water used by a typical home. Household rainfall catchment systems are appropriate in areas with an average rainfall greater than 200 mm (7.9 in) per year, and no other accessible water sources (Skinner and Cotton, 1992).

There are a number of types of systems to harvest rainwater ranging from very simple to the complex industrial systems. Generally, rainwater is either harvested from the ground or from a roof. The rate at which water can be collected from either system is dependent on the plan area of the system, its efficiency, and the intensity of rainfall (i.e annual precipitation (mm per annum) x square meter of catchment area = litres per annum yield) ... a 200 square meter roof catchment catching 1,000mm PA yields 200 kLPA."

The full Wikipedia article can be seen here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainwater_harvesting

Groundwater Recharge

Surface water cycle
Groundwater recharge or deep drainage or deep percolation is a hydrologic process where water moves downward from surface water to groundwater. This process usually occurs in the vadose zone below plant roots and is often expressed as a flux to the water table surface. Recharge occurs both naturally (through the water cycle) and anthropologically (i.e., "artificial groundwater recharge"), where rainwater and or reclaimed water is routed to the subsurface.

Groundwater is recharged naturally by rain and snow melt and to a smaller extent by surface water (rivers and lakes). Recharge may be impeded somewhat by human activities including paving, development, or logging. These activities can result in enhanced surface runoff and reduction in recharge. Use of groundwater, especially for irrigation, may also lower the water tables. Groundwater recharge is an important process for sustainable groundwater management, since the volume-rate abstracted from an aquifer in the long term should be less than or equal to the volume-rate that is recharged.

Recharge can help move excess salts that accumulate in the root zone to deeper soil layers, or into the groundwater system. Another environmental issue is the disposal of waste through the water flux such as dairy farms, industrial, and urban runoff.

The full Wikipedia article can be seen here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundwater_recharge
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