Sunday, June 2, 2013

Asia–Pacific Analysis: Rain harvesting can avert crisis

Crispin Maslog in The world's next major crisis will be a lack of water for home use, including drinking water, many scientists predict. Humans can survive around 40 days without food, but much less than that without water to drink.

The scarcity of water for domestic use is becoming a critical problem, especially in rural parts of developing countries. Surface water in rivers, streams or lakes, and groundwater, are increasingly becoming contaminated with pollutants from factories, households, farms and mines. Wells dug deeper to extract groundwater are drying up.  To meet the water demands of an exploding population, it is time to look up to the sky for the solution: harvesting rainwater as it falls.

As well as for drinking, rainwater serves various needs. It can be used domestically, for example to wash clothes, flush toilets and to water plants, and in the community, for instance in firefighting or to clean public places such as markets, and for agriculture.

If properly done, "rainwater harvesting appears to be one of the most promising alternatives for supplying freshwater in the face of increasing water scarcity and escalating demand", according to the UN Environment Programme. Water catchments, whether it is just small ponds or large dams, can also be used for flood control.

Harvesting rain for domestic use has age-old roots. Ancient Romans used their villa courtyards to collect rainwater that was then stored in large underground cisterns....

The Cistern of Philoxenos in Istanbul, shot by Neuceu, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

No comments: