An Industrial Perspective on Rainwater Harvesting SystemsThe vitality of rainwater: from water conservation to water independence
India is home to just 4% of all freshwater on earth and its industries use 13% of its total. Due to unreliable rainfall, many parts of India experience drought-like conditions, adding strain to the already limited availability of freshwater in the country. Industrial use, alongside the water crises of the country, makes water conservation urgent through the use of rainwater harvesting in the industry.
Rainwater harvesting systems: what are they?
Rainwater harvesting systems conserve water by collecting, storing, conveying and purifying rainwater from open grounds, roads, and parks (also known as catchment areas).
Generally put into place to facilitate harvesting of water for both commercial and industrial purposes, here are 2 extremely common methods of carrying out rainwater harvesting:
Surface run-off rainwater harvesting
Water that is usually absorbed by soil cannot penetrate a concrete pavement. Surface run-off rainwater harvesting redirects water from such paved surfaces into a manmade or natural reservoir to conserve water.
Rooftop rainwater harvesting
This is a conventional rainwater harvesting system that includes collecting rainwater on rooftops and redirecting it to a storage system for further harvesting and processing.
Since industries generally have large catchment areas, the absence of rainwater harvesting would result in large-scale wastage of water that could otherwise be conserved. It is the duty of every industry to take responsibility and install rainwater harvesting systems, not just because of their extensive use of water but also because water conservation is an absolute need.
Why are rainwater harvesting systems important?
The primary focus of rainwater harvesting systems is to conserve water, but the advantages of rainwater harvesting systems go far beyond just water conservation-
Rainwater harvesting systems are a solution to the water contamination crisis experienced around the world.
Drought-prone areas benefit from having stored water during dry spells.
Urban flooding due to heavy rainfall can be prevented by rainwater collection.
Farmers can use stored water for irrigation when they experience less or infrequent rainfall.
Rainwater harvesting systems lower the demand for groundwater, consequently allowing the aquifer (rock that holds groundwater) to increase productivity and produce more groundwater.
Why use rainwater harvesting systems?
Indian industries use about 13% of the total freshwater available in the country—with the textile and garment, beverage, automotive, and construction industries utilising the most water annually. While the installation of rainwater harvesting systems implies added effort and expenditure, the benefits of rainwater harvesting systems far outweigh the costs that come with it.
Let’s discuss a few of these benefits-
Water bills are a huge expense for industries, which is why installing a water harvesting system would be a cost-saving pursuit in the long run.
Industrial processes require a lot of water, this conserved water can be put to good use in various processes..
Rainwater harvesting systems process water that is safe for human use, and can be used by industry personnel for their routine activities.
Rainwater collected in the catchment area can be used for activities like toilet flushing and sprinkler systems, thus ensuring no drop of water goes to waste.
Lower carbon footprint-
As rainwater requires little filtration, it helps reduce the carbon footprint created by extensive filtration.
Lower possibility of water shortage-
Just as industries have large catchment areas they also have big storage facilities, allowing them to store water and prevent future shortages.
The process of rainwater harvesting
The process of rainwater harvesting is simple, with its structure generally comprising the same components across industries.
The surface that directly receives rainfall is known as the catchment area. Catchment areas can be rooftops, open grounds, courtyards, lawns or any space large enough to directly capture rainwater.
Conduits are pipelines meant to convey rainwater from the catchment area to the rainwater harvesting system.
First flush diverter-
The first flush diverter is a device that flushes out the water collected from the first rain shower because of the high level of pollutants it contains.
Even after the first flush, pollutants could exist in rainwater. Filters ensure the removal of any and every pollutant in the water.
Filtered water is then stored in tanks. The size of a rainwater harvesting tank would vary depending on the company.
Water pumps facilitate the transportation of water from the storage tanks for industrial or personal use.
The HCCB way
Water scarcity is a concern for people and businesses alike, which makes its depletion all the more concerning. Regardless of the fact, HCCB is a water-positive company that only uses 0.23% of the total water consumed by all industries.
As a company, we are extremely conscious of the dire effects of not having conservation strategies in place. Having built a total of 237 rainwater harvesting systems in the Chicholi and Sahapur blocks of Betul, Madhya Pradesh, we seek to lend a helping hand in communities water conservation.
In 2021, through water recharge shafts in Rajasthan and Gujarat, we replenished 100% of the water we consumed that year, and of that 12.98 kiloliters of water was replenished in Rajasthan, despite having no operations in the state.
At HCCB, we are keen on following our principle of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Replenish to become water positive across all our factories and address the oncoming water crisis.
In and of itself, water scarcity is a serious concern that goes beyond businesses and thus, the implementation of water conservation techniques and the use of rainwater harvesting is not just a pre-condition but also our obligation towards the society of today and the future.