Fresh water is of critical importance to most plant and animal life on land.
Rain water is the biggest single source of fresh water.
Rainwater harvesting covers the techniques for capturing, filtering and
storing rain water, in order to prepare it for use.
Two fundamental technologies are required:
If clean water is needed, filtration techniques may need to be
applied. These need not be very sophisticated - if the water is to be used
to feed plants - since plants do their own water filtration.
- A collector is needed, to capture the water. The
collector may be a the side of a hill, a roof, solar panels - or a dedicated
- A container is usually required to store the water.
The container may be a dammed valley, a pond, a well - or a water storage butt.
Sometimes - particularly if the container is low-lying - pumps may be needed to
move the water to where it is required.
The storage facility may consist of a series of containers, linked by continuous siphons.
Water butts linked by a continuous syphon
Some systems make an effort to intercept the rain as soon as possible -
since once the water reaches the ground it starts getting muddy and polluted.
Sometimes, rainwater harvesting systems are also used to generate hydro-electric
Plants are masters of rainwater harvesting. They allow water to soak into the
ground - and then they suck it back out again using a distributed
network of fine roots.
Gunnera leaf drainage patterns
Plants tend to use most of the water they collect.
We can either eat their fruit - or draw inspiration from their designs.
Please see also our dew harvesting page.
Rainwater Harvesting Links - DMOZ
Rainwater harvesting - Wikipedia
About Rainwater Harvesting
freerain.co.uk - links
Rainwater harvesting at the RenewableEnergy Centre
Rainwater harvesting could prove a cheap, easy solution to Africa's water woes
Rainwater harvesting - by Robin Simmen