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.

Featured Articles
July 23, 2021 Improper location, poor operation and maintenance of water harvesting and recharge structures threaten water security in Yavatmal
A study assesses the current status of the water harvesting and recharge structures in Yavatmal (Image: India Water Portal Flickr)
July 12, 2021 India Water Portal presents you with some inspiring stories of individuals and organisations in India that have adopted exemplary ways to combat water scarcity through harvesting rainwater.
Catch the rain where it falls (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)
March 22, 2021 Beating odds, women water warriors deepen their work on water
Rural women believe in the power of ‘water continuity’ or having sustained and intergenerational access to water resources (Image: Romit Sen)
February 24, 2021 Baravas, the unique water harvesting structures of Maharashtra continue to stand the test of time. Urgent efforts need to be made to conserve them and learn from them!
A barav from Limb village in Satara district, Maharashtra (Image Source: Aarti Kelkar Khambete)
January 2, 2021 Lack of community ownership and local governance are spelling doom for the once royal and resilient traditional water harvesting structures of Rajasthan.
Toorji Ka Jhalara, Jodhpur (Image Source: Rituja Mitra)
December 29, 2020 Water resources in most Indian cities are overworked and overused, and not adequately replenished.
Cities in India are marked by unequal distribution of water, lack of access, outdated infrastructure and minimal enforcement of rainwater harvesting and other means of supply. (Image: Anish Roy, Pixabay)
Need to protect the unique geological features in the Upper Ken basin
An attempt to document the geological features, water potential, and traditional wisdom around them in the Upper Ken basin. Amita Bhaduri posted 1 year 4 months ago

Kathayi, a scheduled tribe (ST) dominated village in the midst of the forested stretches of Shahnagar block in Panna district faces acute water scarcity during the 3-4 summer months. Through the government schemes, three wells and two hand pumps were installed in this 75 household village in the last 10-15 years, but most of them are dysfunctional now.

Panghata Kund in village Aloni, Panna (June 2014, after initial monsoon) (Image: Seema Ravandale)
Be wise, water wise - Students get on a mission to combat water crisis
An initiative by the students of Oasis International School, Bengaluru, focuses on water conservation and management, while also developing universal values like empathy, gratitude, love and respect. Swati Bansal posted 1 year 4 months ago

In the past few years, India has undoubtedly developed remarkably, but not enough to eradicate all the problems it has been facing, including the shortage of water.

Students of Oasis International School participate in an initiative to help combat water crisis in a village (Image Source: Oasis International School)
Community economies - Reconstructing rural economy with ecological sustainability and ethics of equity
Collective management, participation and equity are the foundations on which community economies are sustained. Amita Bhaduri posted 1 year 5 months ago

The exodus of migrant workers from urban areas back to their villages in the wake of country wide lockdown has brought rural poverty into sharp focus. Reconstruction of rural economy therefore needs policy and planning attention.

Johads in Nanduwali nadi region (Image: Farhad Contractor, IWP Flickr)
Centre to ensure safe drinking water and scale up activities during monsoon, under JJM
Policy matters this week Swati Bansal posted 1 year 5 months ago

Under JJM, Centre to ensure safe drinking water and scale up activities during monsoon

Labourers building check dams under MGNREGA. (Image Source: IWP Flickr Photos)
Facing up to the water crisis
Conservation measures such as rainwater harvesting and recharging of groundwater need to be generally well established in both rural and urban areas. Amita Bhaduri posted 1 year 5 months ago

The conventional freshwater sources available in India are being currently overexploited, leading to widespread environmental degradation and depletion of freshwater resources especially groundwater. To sustain the needs of an increasing population and ecology, our consumption of water far exceeds the rate at which we are recharging water sources.

Water conservation measures invariably have a positive effect on water quality and the environment (Image: Joel Bassuk / Oxfam; Flickr Commons, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Using music to build water positive villages
A campaign tries to make watershed development work a citizens movement. Amita Bhaduri posted 1 year 6 months ago

An inspiration called Kumbharwadi in the rain-shadow region of Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra is one of the many successful stories of water stressed villages that were transformed by Paani Ka Teeka’s knowledge partner – Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR), a Pune based non-profit.

Kumbharwadi in 1998 - A bleak scenario

Women drawing water from a village well. Prior to watershed development and integrated water management, scarcity of water was a way of life for the people of Kumbharwadi (Image: WOTR)
Tap water to all
What can be learnt from past experiences on scaling up coverage of piped water supply? Amita Bhaduri posted 1 year 6 months ago

Efforts are underway by both state and central governments to improve access to safe and adequate drinking water to people, and nationally, as on 31 December 2018, 79% of rural habitations had been covered at 40 litres per capita per day (lpcd) but only 47% at 55 lpcd.

Child drinks water from a tap (Image: Imal Hashemi/Taimani Films/World Bank, Flickr Commons, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Unravelling Kuttanad’s drinking water paradox
Floods such as in 2018 could take the situation downhill causing severe drinking water crisis. Amita Bhaduri posted 1 year 7 months ago

Surrounded by vast expanses of water, the Kuttanad region in Alleppey district, Kerala faces severe drinking water scarcity due to infrastructure failure and civic body inaction.

Lack of sufficient quality water, poor pipe connectivity and frequent breakdown of existing pipelines are common in the area (Image: Jayasree Vaidyanathan)
Overcoming heavy odds to emerge as a WATSAN model
How women came together in a Junagadh village to tackle drinking and domestic water shortage effectively. Amita Bhaduri posted 1 year 7 months ago

Kotda village provides an inspiring example of how a village suffering from teething troubles in the critical areas of water and sanitation can emerge as a model water and sanitation village. Located in Mangrol block of Junagadh district, from a distance this village presents a lush green appearance because of an abundance of coconut trees.

AKRSP has promoted rainwater harvesting to address the issue of scarce potable water at Mangrol. By encouraging households to collect rainwater using pipes on their roofs which then drain into an underground tank they have been able to promote water security. (Image: Aga Khan Foundation Flickr)
Content Library: Groundwater management
A comprehensive library of video content on Participatory GroundWater Management amrthak posted 1 year 8 months ago

Participatory GroundWater Management (PGWM) - at its core believes in weaving together scientific and traditional groundwater management methods and making communities the champion of their water resources. 

Women drawing water from a beri (Image: IWP Flickr)
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