Harvesting water from the rain is an affordable technology that we can use to enhance our lives and the lives of everyone around us. It can alleviate poverty as well as save hundreds of dollars from water bill. It can also help us educate people on water conservation, help us have better nutrition and in the future, improve our community when it comes to economic problems. In South East Asia, technologies that can harvest rainwater has been used for at least a decade now, from small dams to bolted tanks, to homemade jars. It resulted in a higher amount of groundwater, economic opportunities and most areas, improved state of health. The grassroots solution has given governments a reason to change their policy on collection of rainwater.
We all know that one of the most critical problems that we should face head-on is our problem with lack of potable drinking water. In 2015, at least half a billion people all over the world were denied access to safe and clean water, which imperils health, socioeconomic development as well as livelihood. And according to WHO or World Health Organization, by 2030, 50% of the world’s population will be living in areas with minimal to no access to water. Population growth is one reason why we have problems with water supply in the coming decades. There are two reasons why we have scarcity in the water supply. The first one is the surging growth in population in developed and developing countries, and the second reason is the depletion of water and contamination due to global warming and pollution. When water is contaminated, the disease will follow. Not only that, but because of water scarcity, unhealthy sanitary practices have become a worldwide health problem.
The lack of safe drinking water, poor sanitation and poor personal hygiene have caused at least 800,000 deaths per year from diarrhea to dysentery and cancers. According to studies conducted by MIT, 5 billion out of the projected 10 billion people will be living under severe conditions with no access to clean water. Most of the affected areas will be in India, Africa and the Middle East. Right now, these areas are already under water shortage.
Water scarcity and human suffering are interconnected. Out of 600 million people with no access to drinking water, half of it is living in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to statistics, 1 out of 9 people is deprived of clean potable water. And not only that, at least 150 million school days are lost because of water-related diseases each year. And because of that, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by people with water-related illnesses. And according to another study, more people are dying of water-related diseases than all forms of violence combined, and that includes war.
According to U.N, The most common water quality problem is the high concentration of phosphorus and nitrogen in the water. The reason for this is the growing number of agricultural areas, domestic sewage, industrial areas and of course the increase in atmospheric inputs caused by the burning of fossil fuels and forest fires.
Rainwater collection is an ancient and effective solution that has been used by people 3,500 years ago. Ancient Greek, Chinese, Roman, and Arab civilization used this to provide water for their daily use such as drinking, irrigation, personal hygiene and sewage. The application of collecting rainwater is also applicable to first-world countries like the United States as well as developing countries where resources are limited. Collection of rainwater is a simple process. It involves collecting water from areas where rain falls like building and house rooftops and dwellings and then it is stored in water tanks or bolted tanks. Usually, gutters, down pipes, drains and filters are needed to catch rainwater properly. You can use screen, paper, charcoal or carbon to filter any impurities.
Harvesting rainwater is environmentally safe, very cost-effective and a very affordable solution to water scarcity. Women and children are the most affected when there is unsafe water, unstable sources and the water collection problem arise. Water collection has been a big help in third world countries. It can also be applied in the United States. The government should make amendments on policies regarding this situation.