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Rainwater Harvesting

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Rainwater Harvesting - Lesson Summary

Rain water feeds our rivers and seeps into the ground to recharge our underground water resources. Rainwater is one of the purest forms of water available in nature but is available to us only for a few months in a year.

The process of collecting rain water during the wet season, to meet our fresh water requirements in the dry season, is called rainwater harvesting. In Himachal Pradesh and Jammu rain water is harvested using diversion channels called kuls or guls. Water flowing through the kuls is collected in reservoir tanks in the villages and used for irrigation as and when required.

Farmers in Bengal traditionally used inundation channels cut through river embankments at times of floods to irrigate their fields. In some areas of Rajasthan, earthen embankments, called khadin, are built around farms to collect rain water during the rainy season. This saturates the soil for cultivation. In the semi-arid regions of Rajasthan, earthen check dams, called johads, are used to collect rainwater that percolates into the ground, raising the level of groundwater.

One of the most widely used methods of collecting rain water is rooftop rainwater harvesting. In a rooftop rainwater harvesting system, rain water falling on the roof is collected and then filtered before being stored in tanks for immediate use. Excess water is diverted to wells to recharge groundwater.

In many parts of Rajasthan, rain water collected through rooftop harvesting is collected in large underground reservoirs, called tankas. Almost all households in Shillong in Meghalaya use rooftop rainwater harvesting to meet almost 20% of their total requirement of water.

Each of the 200 households in Gendathur, Karnataka, that adopted rooftop rainwater harvesting can collect 50,000 litres of rain water every year for its use. In bamboo drip irrigation, bamboos are split to make shallow channels. A complex network of such bamboo channels is used to divert and carry water from rain-fed springs to the farms. Channel sections in the farm allow the water to drip near the roots of the plants.

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