Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting (RWH) is a simple method by which rainfall is collected for future usage. The collected rainwater may be stored, utilised in different ways or directly used for recharge purposes. With depleting groundwater levels and fluctuating climate conditions, RWH can go a long way to help mitigate these effects. Capturing the rainwater can help recharge local aquifers, reduce urban flooding and most importantly ensure water availability in water-scarce zones. Though the term seems to have picked up greater visibility in the last few years, it was, and is even today, a traditional practice followed in rural India. Some ancient rainwater harvesting methods followed in India include madakas, ahar pynes, surangas, taankas and many more.

This water conservation method can be easily practiced in individual homes, apartments, parks, offices and temples too, across the world. Farmers have recharged their dry borewells, created water banks in drought areas, greened their farms, increased sustainability of their water resources and even created a river. Technical know how for the rooftop RWH with direct storage can be availed for better implementation. RWH An effective method in water scarce times, it is also an easily doable practice. Practical advice is available in books written by Indukanth Ragade & Shree Padre, talks by Anupam Mishra and other easy to follow fun ways

Read our FAQ on Rainwater Harvesting and have many basic questions answered.

  • Big sandstone hills cover the landscape dotted by little grass, while the land below is covered with Israeli babool (akesia tortlis), an invasive species which does not let any other vegetation grow. Amidst this, Baadi village with its lush green fields full of cabbage, pepper and groundnut seems ou...
    Manu Moudgilposted 3 years 3 months agoread more
  • Recent news has been flooded with reports of the severe drought situation in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra. Even more shocking are the reports of large-scale suicides by farmers due to crop losses. Although the government has announced a relief package for drought-affected area...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 3 years 4 months agoread more
  • Water connects food and religion. Religious ceremonies often involve taking a dip in a water body, and any food or meal is incomplete without water. The same two things - food and religion - stand out in Bikaner. While hot kachoris and samosas line street stalls, Mata Karni Devi and Baba Ramdev (not...
    Manu Moudgilposted 3 years 4 months agoread more
  • The word 'Theertham' literally means ‘water’ but in Hindu mythology, it is usually the physical holy water body associated with a temple or deity. Rameshwaram has 64 such theerthams. 22 of these are believed to be sacred and are within the premises of the Sri Ramanathaswamy temple. Bathing...
    Anonymous (not verified)posted 3 years 4 months agoread more
  • A drop in available water for irrigation is one of the important challenges that countries will face in the coming years. This could create a severe impact on agriculture and food production. This threat is far more serious in countries such as India due to the rapid growth in population as well as ...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 3 years 5 months agoread more
  • NGT turns down clearance to Cuddalore thermal plant because of threat to mangroves The National Green Tribunal has turned down green clearance to the 3600 MW thermal power plant in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district. The decision was taken due to the plant's impact on the marine life and the Pichava...
    swatiposted 3 years 5 months agoread more
  • Kerala's Ashtamudi lake recognised for sustainable clam fishing Ashtamudi lake, the second largest estuarine system in Kerala and a livelihood support of 3000 fisherfolk who trade clams, has become India's first Marine Stewardship Council-certified fishery. When faced with crisis of reduced catch d...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 3 years 5 months agoread more
  • Chitradurga district in southern Karnataka is infamous for drought. People here constantly suffer from water shortage and in the last few years, the problem has escalated due to poor rainfall.  "The continuous drilling of bore wells in and around Chitradurga doesn't help either", says Devaraja...
    Divya Nposted 3 years 6 months agoread more
  • Hudhud lands in Vizag at 195 kmph Cyclone Hudhud has struck the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha at a speed of 195 kmph, bringing with it heavy rain and winds. The cyclone has caused severe damage to Visakhapatnam and has claimed 21 lives in Andhra Pradesh. Over 4 lakh people have bee...
    Anonymous (not verified)posted 3 years 6 months agoread more
  • Dear India Water Portal, We are looking forward to implementing rainwater harvesting system in our society at Thane, Maharashtra. We would be grateful if you could help us with the same. Thankyou
    Anonymous (not verified)posted 3 years 6 months agoread more
  • We have an existing bore well and the yield has come down. Can you suggest methods for deepening? The people at hyderabad who do it are experts, but still the water is trickling. We are also trying to put water recharging pits. Thanks
    Anonymous (not verified)posted 3 years 7 months agoread more
  • I am constructing a house and I need details regarding rain water harvesting for it. Thanks, Ashwathanarayana  
    Anonymous (not verified)posted 3 years 7 months agoread more
  • Located at an altitude of 1270 metres , Kikruma, a quaint village nestled in a rainshadowed area of Phek district of Nagaland is a wonder. Centuries ago, the village evolved a self-organizing system to take care of its water, forest and farm management. ‘Zabo’, which means 'impounding water', is...
    Usha Dewaniposted 3 years 8 months agoread more
  • In the last five decades, Indore, in Madhya Pradesh, has witnessed a substantial increase in urbanisation and industrialisation. Its population has also increased from 5,60,936 in 1971 to 2,167,447 in 2011 (Census 2011). This increase has resulted in an increased demand for water, aggravating the wa...
    makarandpurohitposted 3 years 8 months agoread more
  • Kaladera, a small village about 40 km from Jaipur has always been known for its chaubandi (mud resist printing) and natural dyeing but it has been getting a lot of attention since 1999. No, it's not because of the handicraft but because of Coca Cola, which set up a bottling plant there. Soon af...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 3 years 9 months agoread more
  • Sukhomajri village has long been a reminder of people's participation in ecological preservation and in turn, greater economic good. The small village in Panchkula district of Haryana changed its fortunes when it entered into joint forest management with the help of the Chandigarh-based Central So...
    Manu Moudgilposted 3 years 9 months agoread more
  • HelloI would like to harvest rainwater in my home. Would you be able to refer me to a service provider?Thank youSankar
    Anonymous (not verified)posted 3 years 9 months agoread more
  • Query received over facebookPlease send me some information on rainwater harvesting. Can you help us implement water harvesting in our colony? We are at greater Noida.Regards
    Anonymous (not verified)posted 3 years 10 months agoread more
  • Increasing urbanization in India has led to soaring freshwater demands and has hence resulted in large amounts of wastewater generation. This water crisis is mainly a consequence of the current water management regime which focuses on centralized water management. We need to implement sustainable an...
    ravleenposted 3 years 10 months agoread more
  • Sehgal foundation has constructed the check dam at Rawli village in Mewat, Haryana for recharging the groundwater. The check dam, that will serve the bordering villages at Haryana and Rajasthan, has been inaugurated and handed over to the project beneficiaries committee for operation and maintenance...
    swatiposted 3 years 10 months agoread more

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Citizens come forward to restore polluted lakes and rivers in their cities. They demand support and swift action from the government.

The pitiful state of some of the water bodies in the country, coupled with the sheer apathy of the government, have forced some well-meaning citizens to come out of their comfort zones and make a difference. Some of these efforts, like the Puttenahalli lake in Bengaluru that is now overflowing with clean water, have been successful, while others are ongoing. Here, we feature some stories of a few Good Samaritans and their efforts to restore the lakes and rivers of their cities.

Udaipur lakes

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The hill forts of Maharashtra provide valuable lessons in water harvesting and conservation.

In the olden times, people knew the importance of water and had devised a number of techniques to manage and conserve water resources. These efforts not only met the drinking water needs of the people, but also helped the survival of livestock and agriculture in areas where perennial rivers were absent and the population depended on rains and often faced water scarcity or droughts.

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An NGO’s effort to recharge the groundwater in an area finds little success with water-guzzling crops that rule the market.

Water crisis is a reality in most of India. After the summer of droughts come the monsoon floods. Take Maharashtra, for instance. If at one time it is desperately searching for drinking water, at another time, its capital, Mumbai is wading through knee-high water. How do we overcome these annual crises? Unfortunately, the answers are not so easy to find. 

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How an arid, saline land where migration in search of water and jobs was a way of life, boasts of plenty of water now.

Summer temperatures soar to a gruelling 50ocelsius in Rapar, a little known block in Gujarat’s Kutch district. Land here is dry, saline and arid; the monsoon is erratic. Many a times, the entire year’s rain falls in a short span of two or three days, doing more harm than good. Dubbed a dark zone, groundwater extraction is rampant even as agriculture remains the main source of income.

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Policy matters this week

Maharashtra government withdraws plea against ban on construction on wetlands  

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Pipara village in the parched Bundelkhand region stands out for its uninterrupted water supply. The village has their women to thank for it.

The cracks on the parched land of Bundelkhand are waiting for the monsoon to quench the thirst of its arid landscape. Despite the wide-spread drought here, Pipara, one of the villages in the region, stands apart as the only one that has not run completely dry. 

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News this week

Rural India walks too far to quench their thirst

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Tonk Khurd’s innovative farm ponds prove that when it comes to solving water crisis, one size does not fit all.

Vikram Patel, a 71-year-old farmer in Chidavad village of Dewas district in Madhya Pradesh is one of the first farmers to have embraced the idea of farm ponds to increase the groundwater level in his farm.

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Nanduwali in east Rajasthan started flowing again when the villagers decided to work with nature and not against it. The river is now lifeline to those settled on her banks

Gajanand Sharma is excited about the monsoon this year. He is building an anicut on the small stream that runs through his farm. “After the rain, the land will be filled with water and then I will sow wheat and reap record production in this area,” he prophesises. This forecast doesn’t come from his knowledge of astrology, but that of geology, gained over the years.

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Only 40 percent treatable land has been covered by various government programmes. It calls for better planning.

With two consecutively weak monsoons, this summer is particularly difficult for India. Around 330 million people across 10 states are affected by the drought.

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