Rain Water Harvesting

Water shortage is considered the most dangerous outcome of environment degradation. The Art of Living has responded to this crisis by training thousands of villagers and youth to take up water-harvesting projects in their communities. Apart from conserving water for use during the dry period, the initiative also reduces the possibility of flash floods. In the absence of any harvesting mechanism, excess rain water from the monsoon flows away and hence the farmers are forced to turn to groundwater sources for irrigation and other purposes during the dry days. This amplifies the use of groundwater supplies and lowers the water table drastically.

Several villages in India where The Art of Living works, have indigenous mechanisms for rain water harvesting, thus creating a grassroots model for environment sustainability. Using this mechanism, The Art of Living turned Kapsi, a drought-prone village in Maharashtra, India into having a water surplus. Similarly, it is also engaged in restoring indigenous water supply mechanisms in rural India by harnessing village ponds, etc.

What is roof water harvesting?
The principle of rain water harvesting from rooftop is to collect and store whatever amount of rain water that could be stored, and divert the rest for recharging the ground water.

At The Art of Living International Center campus more than 4.2 million liters of rain water is currently collected and diverted to a tank.

By the year 2050, there will be a steep fall in the availability of potable water. It is imperative to augment our water resources.

Fresh water is crucial for all living beings. It is also essential for any development in agriculture or industry. With a rise of population in India, there was a deduction in availability of water by 25% in the last 20 years and the picture remains gloomy further.

Currently a city like Bangalore is utilizing an average of 135 liters of water per capita/day. It is as low as 20 to 30 liters in some parts. In rural and drought prone areas, it could be a struggle to fetch a pot or two of water from distant places. By the 2050 AD, there would be a further steep fall in the availability of potable water to an extent of 35-40%. World Wide Fund (WWF) indicates that glaciers are melting at an accelerated rate and that “up to a quarter of global mountain glacier mass could disappear by 2050”. With receding Himalayan glaciers 800 to 1000 million people and 37% of irrigated land would be affected.

Floods followed by reduced flow in rivers, and finally drying up of some of them have serious consequences. Exploitation of ground water resources without adequate recharge may be catastrophic. When bore wells are dug in the “Shear Zone” as in most dry areas, with massive rocks below 200ft from the surface, fluoride problems occur as in Kolar district and arsenic problems intensify as in West Bengal. Thus ground water for irrigation or for drinking is dangerous, affecting the food-chain with toxins. Therefore, recharging borewells is possible for percolation methods through soak-pit of dimensions of 13’ X 10’ X 10 filled with stones, pebbles and nylon filter mesh. It is necessary to improve tanks as well as to recharge the ground water. De- silting, maintenance of structures and distribution of water should be managed by water users themselves.

Rooftop rain water harvesting is not new. In Rajasthan and Gujarat, people have managed through ingenuity, to survive the worst famine situations with only 150mm rainfall in some years! There is absolutely no way to augment our water resources other than effecting all round savings, capturing every drop of rain that falls on the soil and on our rooftops i.e. water harvesting in the fields and roof water harvesting from our residences and offices. In such buildings, the principle of rain water harvesting from rooftop is to collect and store whatever amount of rain water that could be stored, and divert the rest for recharging the ground water.