When we talk about contemporary features that every home needs in today’s day and age, we always mention features that promote self-sustainability. Talk about energy or water, modern homes consume less of both.
It is safe to say that modern homes are taking the minimalistic approach when it comes to the consumption of resources. And as we all know, the one resource that’s absolutely critical to our existence – water, is becoming scarcer.
We cannot walk away from climate change
Nobody can hide from climate change and its dangers. Bu we can prepare for it. We cannot stop the large scale consumption of water, but we can consume it smartly. That’s where rainwater harvesting comes in.
Rainwater Harvesting is hailed as the essential design feature of any modern home
Water is easier to store than energy, especially when it comes to rainwater harvesting. Even in terms of design sustainability, there might be no easier resource to harness than water. It can be stored indefinitely and used whenever needed for drinking bathing or cleaning, thus cutting back on your home’s environmental footprint.
Let’s take a look at how much water an average Indian consumes for different purposes, every day.
- For bathing - 70 to 90 litres
- For brushing teeth - 5 litres
- For toilet use - 5 litres
- Drinking, cleaning & cooking – 15 litres per person
- Washing machine – approx. 40 litres per load
Outdoor Water Usage
- Gardening purposes – 15 litres
- Car washing – 80 litres
- Dog or Pet – 30 litres per wash
If you add it all up, you’ll realise that it’s a lot of water for one person. Especially in India, where our dams and water resources are not fully equipped to meet this kind of demand in the long run.
Hence, the need for rainwater harvesting is real.
In city areas, rainwater is collected from the rooftops of the buildings. This water is then directed to the rainwater storage tank.
- Based on your use and by looking at the number of people in your home or development, you can figure out how much water you actually need. However, it is also important to know the surface/catchment area of your rooftop.
- By knowing the catchment area and amount of rainfall, you can get an approximate amount of saved water. When it comes to urban developments, anywhere up to 5000 to 20,000 litre rainwater tanks would be appropriate.
Roof-water capturing is just one of the ways used in rainwater harvesting. Water can also be drawn from the ground using pumps and bore wells and stored.
Capturing water directly will reduce our dependency upon water storage dams. That’s a step towards sustainable living.
How much water can a house save yearly if it undertakes rainwater harvesting?
- It is estimated that a 200 sq. meter (656 sq. ft.) home can save up to 2 Lac litres of water every year if it undertakes rainwater harvesting.
- Since our daily consumption of water is about 750 litres (as per WHO), we can easily get more than what’s needed for an entire year using rainwater harvesting.
- Most of the tier-1 cities get around fifty to sixty days of rainfall in a year. By having multiple tanks, this water can saved and used over a long period of time.
It is believed that with this kind of implementation, your house will not only save water but also help in saving money as you won’t have to pay a single dime to the corporation for water supply.
Also, Rainwater Harvesting can deal with the issue of inundation of low lying areas
- Low-lying areas get submerged because of heavy rains. By storing a large portion of this water via rainwater harvesting, we can solve the inundation problem.
- It can also help restore the groundwater (water table) level back to normal. A healthy groundwater level is something that can support our water needs in case our dams or water sources run out of water. This is something that happens quite often in India.
- It can also help in reducing the instances of soil erosion and soil degradation by maintaining a healthy level of moisture in the land.
Financial Incentives of Rainwater Harvesting
- In recent years, the municipal corporation of several cities announced rebates on property taxes for developments that have rainwater harvesting. Pune, Mumbai, Allahabad, Thane, Gwalior, Bangalore, Indore and many others announced a rebate of 5-6%.
- In Indore, this announcement increased the adoption of rainwater harvesting by a whopping 50%
- The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board has made rainwater harvesting mandatory for every household.
- The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage (Amendment) Act (2009) states that every owner within existing houses built on 2,400 square feet and who propose to construct a building on a site area of 1,200 square feet and above should provide for rainwater harvesting structure.
- In Gwalior, rainwater harvesting is made mandatory in a plot area of 1400 sq. meters or above and 6% rebate on property tax is provided.
- In Thane, the municipal corporation is offering 5% rebate to the residents that adopt rainwater harvesting.
- Apart from tax rebates, there are subsidies and discounts available in some cities on Rainwater harvesting.
All-in-all, the incentives caused a mass-involvement and implementation of this feature and in the long run, can help stabilise ground water level, provide better yield from bore wells and reduce the pressure on tanker water supply in the urban areas.
The benefits of rainwater harvesting are endless. This is one feature that can eradicate the all problems related to water shortage. If you’re looking to buy a home, pick a development that has this feature.
Remember, just by choosing the right home, you can contribute to the well-being of several people.
The saved water can directed towards to the well-being of rural population and the agriculture industry. Who knows, probably in the coming years, even rural areas might get rainwater harvesting and we can finally say goodbye to water-shortage for good!