Rainwater harvesting: a successful alternative to conserve water


Water is life and unfortunately it cannot be generated but can be preserved. According to experts Pakistan is facing one of the worst water crisis at the moment. Being prone to natural disasters, facing demographical changes due to population moving to urban areas and migration, the demand for household water has increased in the country. Earthquake 2005 brought devastation and with over four thousand water supply schemes destroyed one of the major task was provision of safe drinking water to the affectees of AJK and KP. The earthquake not only destroyed the water supply schemes but also affected the water level due to change in the topography of the area making the task more challenging.
The earthquake affected areas register an average rainfall of 1500 millimeters, higher than any other part of the country. So while reconstructing the destroyed facilities, ERRA took the initiated of rain water harvesting as an alternative method to preserve natural rain water. The earthquake affected areas register an average rainfall of 1500 millimeters higher than any other part of the country, and with preservation of rain water, the water scarcity issue could be successfully resolved. Rain Water Harvesting provides the best possible alternative and supplementary source of water in a situation where existing water sources are depleting and fail to fulfill the needs of a growing population.
Based on careful calculations and survey the rainwater harvesting program, an initiative to revive and develop the age old practice of rain water harvesting was taken. ERRA Water and Sanitation (WatSan) experts along with international partners estimated that no less than 140,000 liters of water (32,000 gallons) with 90% efficiency could easily be collected every year from a house comprising 2-3 rooms with a 30 ft x30 ft roof (100 sq m). Under a pilot project targeting nearly 20 Union Councils of AJ&K and KPK 12,000 Rain Water Harvesting Systems have been installed on school buildings, houses and hospitals. Moreover, ERRA has taken steps to make rainwater harvesting compulsory in all new buildings. The system provides simple and easy way of collection, management and effective utilization of rain water at a minimal cost, to provide water as a basic necessity of life, at the doorstep of each beneficiary. This project of Rain Water Harvesting was successful in the Earthquake Affected Areas because the 600,000 seismically safe houses rebuilt in the area intrinsically support the Rain Water Harvesting system, rendering it the largest public sector project of its kind, in the world.
Rainwater harvesting has not only addressed the domestic need for water but also benefited women and school going girls. It has decreased the labor for house wives and addressed the issue of girl education where previously girls were discouraged from attending classes because of the lack of useable toilet facilities with running water.
Keeping the ERRA model of Rain Water Harvesting as a bench mark, the water crisis problem in areas with high rainfall in Pakistan can be solved by replicating this model according to the community needs.


  1. It is compulsory by law to conserve rain water in Bangalore.All building owners have to create rain water harvesting facilities.

  2. I wish it was law in the UK that all new builds had to have compulsory rainwater harvesters. I have been advocaqting this for years, it is the only way forward if we dont want to see permanent droughts. Here in the UK our prime minister has one installed in his London home, I know Ive repaired and maintained it, what a pity he does not promote, advocate or give grants to people who dont have them and can least afford them. Water is second to oil and if we can preserve it in anyway it must be good not only for the environment but the world. therainman.co.uk

  3. Thanks God………………………The project which I, as In charge of Water & Sanitation Program of ERRA initiated is getting popular. We have to make it essential part of Municipal by Laws.
    I have delivered Talk on this initiative to the PhD students of LONDON SOUTH BANK University UK in July 2011 and recommended for promotion of RWH in UK as well. There is a big potential in UK

  4. my design of rain water harvesting for drinking and cooking purpose for the new house construction and office building has been published in the book " Catch water where and when it falls" book released
    by "Centre ffor science and environment" ,newdelhi,Indiai,,pl contacr me for consultation,,my cell no 919443339951,,,e mail address,,, [email protected]. with warm regards,,,N.ARUNACHLAM,,,Retired Chief Engineer,PwD,,,madurai,Tamilnadu,India

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