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Chapter: Civil : Water Resources and Irrigation Engineering

Water harvesting practices

Technically speaking, water harvesting means capturing the rain where it

Water harvesting practices:


Technically speaking, water harvesting means capturing the rain where it


falls, or capturing the run-off in one‟s own village or various ways of harvesting water:

Ø          Capturing run-off from rooftops;


Ø          Capturing run-off from local catchments;


Ø          Capturing seasonal flood water from local streams; and


Ø          Conserving water through watershed management.


Ø        Apart from increasing the availability of water, local water harvesting systems developed by local communities and households can reduce the pressure on the state to provide all the financial resources needed for water supply. Also, involving people will give them a sense of ownership and reduce the burden on government funds.


Ø     Minimization of evaporation losses: The rate of evaporation is dependent on the vapour pressures at the water surface and air above, air and water temperatures, wind speed, atmospheric pressure, quality of water, and size of the water body. Evaporation losses can be minimized by constructing deep reservoirs, growing tall trees on the windward side of the reservoir, plantation in the area adjoining the reservoir, removing weeds and water plants from the reservoir periphery and surface, releasing warm water and spraying chemicals or fatty acids over the water surface.


Ø        Development of groundwater potential: A precise quantitative inventory regarding the ground-water reserves is not available. Organization such as the Geographical Survey of India, the Central Ground-Water Board and the State Tube-Wells and the Ground-Water Boards are engaged in this task. It has been estimated by the Central Ground-Water Board that the total ground water reserves are on the order of 55,000,000 million cubic meters out of which 425,740 million cubic meters have been assessed as the annual recharge from rain and canal seepage. The Task Force on Ground-Water Reserves of the Planning Commission has also endorsed these estimates. All recharge to the ground-water is not available for withdrawal, since part of it is lost as sub-surface flow. After accounting from these losses, the gross available ground-water recharge is about 269,960 million cubic meters per annum. A part of this recharge (2,460 million cubic meters) is in the saline regions of the country and is unsuitable for use in agriculture owing to its poor quality. The net recharge available for ground-water development in India, therefore, is of the magnitude of about 267,500 million cubic meters per annum. The Working Group of the Planning Commission Task Force Ground-Water Reserves estimated that the usable ground-water potential would be only 75 to 80 per cent of the net ground-water recharge available and recommended a figure of 203,600 million cubic


Ø        meters per annum as the long-term potential for ground-water development in India.


Ø        Recharging: Artificial recharge provides ground water users an opportunity to increase the amount of water available during periods of high demand--typically summer months. Past interest in artificial recharge has focused on aquifers that have declined because of heavy use and from which existing users have been unable to obtain sufficient water to satisfy their needs.


Ø        Transfer of surface water: Basically, it's the movement of surface water from one river basin into another. The actual transfer is the amount of water not returned to its source basin. The most typical situation occurs when a water system has an intake and wastewater discharge in different basins. But other situations also cause transfers. One is where a system's service area covers more than one basin. Any water used up or consumed in a portion of the service area outside of the source basin would be considered part of a transfer (e.g. watering your yard). Transfers can also occur between interconnected systems, where a system in one basin purchases water from a system in another basin. 

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