Growth in population, industrialization and urbanization severely impacts the water resources. Many processes in industries make more use of water than their counterparts; eg. power generation, textiles and garments, beverages, car-wash businesses, construction, refueling areas etc. Plus, additional water resources are necessary to fulfill worker’s demands of drinking and sanitation within the industrial vicinity. Hence, it makes complete sense to opt for alternatives for harnessing water and one such way of using the raindrops to their full potential is – rainwater harvesting (RWH).
There are states and cities in India which mandate rainwater storage and have legislations for the same. These constitute Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Kerala, Port Blair etc. In Himachal Pradesh, all commercial and institutional buildings, industrial facilities etc., existing or coming up and have a plinth area of more than 1000 square meters should have rainwater storage facilities commensurate with the size of the roof area.
Let us first talk about its ROI (opting for such systems becomes easy when one has idea of its benefits). In most of the cases, a system becomes viable when it offers a greater ROI as the investments and expenses incurred by a business are massive. Owners of the business can see visible benefits such as:
- Direct cost-savings on lengthy water bills
- Availability of freshwater cuts down carbon footprints by saving power used in freshwater processing
- Catchment areas in commercial centers can collect and store water to be used in times of shortage.
- Water recycling systems receive better quality water; thereby increase their shelf life.
- Harvested rainwater is soft, thus it minimizes the cycles of filtration.
While the basic structure remains the same for a commercial rainwater harvesting system, the difference only lies in the size of such systems. (Mentioned in the figure 1.1). With the water demand increase in the industries and offices, the number and capacity of the harvested water tanks can increase accordingly.
To consider rainwater harvesting in your industry, here are some key steps.
Companies can undertake initiatives that can benefit the general public as well. The Guardian mentions a unique initiative by the company Vodafone, which has used billboards for storing rainwater. This isn’t a ‘within an industrial vicinity’ system, but a boon to the drought-hit village of Pimpri Sandas, in Pune. They have designed their billboards in such a fashion that they help the rural farmers use rainwater for farming. The billboards are fitted with tanks, and harvest rainwater. When the tanks are full, sensors detect and alert the collection teams who then transport rainwater to the farmers.
Such systems have been traditionally used to water the garden in homes in the past. Now, as new technologies emerge, we can expect to see more innovation in rainwater harvesting arena and make the most of our dwindling water resources. It is the need to conserve the offerings of nature, for our own sustenance. The first step towards this is practicing this type of harnessing at an individual and industrial level. As legislations are being passed on for these very purposes, it is time that everyone contributes their bit.
Image courtesy: Taken from flickr- Aqua Mechanical, Closeup female hands under the stream of splashing water – skin care concept, accessed on 5 August 2019, 11:20 IST https://www.flickr.com/photos/aquamech-utah/24445245113