5 Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting Explained

Advantages of rainwater harvesting are; operational simplicity, hazard-risk mitigation, energy conservation, cost savings, and agricultural productivity.

This article discusses the advantages of rainwater harvesting, as follows;


1). Operational Simplicity (as one of the Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting)

Rainwater harvesting is basically a simple concept compared to other sustainability practices like purification by reverse osmosis, environmental remediation, well as other methods of water conservation and soil conservation, which are geared toward mitigating resource depletion.

As a result, a rainwater harvesting system is typically a simple setup comprising of pipes, funnels, filter beds and storage vessels [4].

When these components have been assembled, the only maintenance required is an occasional sanitation of the system itself, and the surfaces over which rainwater flows into the harvesting system.

Rainwater harvesting does not require pressure-application, heat, electricity, or any other form of energy input to make them functional. Also, the simplicity of the system setup makes it easy to adopt, with minimal technical knowledge or expertise required.

Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting: Operational Simplicity (Credit: SuSanA Secretariat 2008 .CC BY 2.0.)
Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting: Operational Simplicity (Credit: SuSanA Secretariat 2008 .CC BY 2.0.)


2). Hazard-Risk Mitigation

Rainwater collecting is effective for mitigating the risk of water-related manmade and natural hazards.

The function of rainwater harvesting systems is very similar to that of water dams, in terms of controlling urban flooding by channeling, collecting and storing excess rainwater for future use [1].

Aside erosion, rainwater harvesting also helps in mitigating environmental impacts and issues like drought, desertification, soil erosion, stormwater pollution, leaching, leachate formation and groundwater degradation, as well as the spread of oil spill.

Collection and storage prevents rainwater from becoming a tool for ecosystem/habitat destruction, infrastructural damage, pollutant distribution, and other forms of environmental degradation.

The outbreak of waterborne diseases is also controlled by rainwater harvesting, since this reduces the range of spread of such diseases.


3). Energy Conservation (as one of the Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting)

Rainwater harvesting can help in achieving both energy conservation and energy efficiency in the water management sector.

This is especially the case when rainwater harvesting systems are decentralized and used for large-scale conservation.

By conserving rainwater, the amount of energy used to extract and purify water from aquifers and other reserves is reduced significantly [3].

At the same time, rainwater harvesting can function as a means of energy recovery, when conserved water is channeled into artificial reservoirs of hydro-power plants, and used to generate hydroelectricity.


4). Cost Savings

Rainwater harvesting can save cost because it is a form of recycling and is in alignment with the principles of circular economy [2].

Resource depletion is mitigated through rainwater harvesting, alongside energy waste and other unsustainable conditions that can affect the economy.

Since water is an essential resource, and useful to all sectors of the economy, its conservation will reduce the overall cost of production.

In sustainable farming, rainwater harvesting can make irrigation much cheaper by removing extra expenses that could have been made in pumping and purification.

Lastly, rainwater harvesting saves cost be reducing degradation along with the need for expensive environmental remediation measures.


5). Agricultural Productivity (as one of the Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting)

Various practices of sustainable agriculture, like crop rotation, cover cropping, contour farming, organic mulching and conservation tillage all aim to conserve water resources on the farm, among other objectives.

Rainwater harvesting can help supplement these measures, as well as other sources of water for agricultural use.

As a method of resource-conservation, it is also useful in replicating some conditions of the natural ecosystem like bioenergy cycling.

Conservative agricultural schemes including organic farming and biodynamic farming, can use rainwater harvesting to reduce external inputs that could have negative impacts on crops and livestock.

Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting: Agricultural Productivity (Credit: Shree Krishna Dhital 2013 .CC BY-SA 3.0.)
Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting: Agricultural Productivity (Credit: Shree Krishna Dhital 2013 .CC BY-SA 3.0.)



The advantages of rainwater harvesting are;

1. Operational Simplicity

2. Hazard Mitigation

3. Energy Conservation

4. Cost Savings

5. Agricultural Productivity



1). Freni, G.; Liuzzo, L. (2019). “Effectiveness of Rainwater Harvesting Systems for Flood Reduction in Residential Urban Areas.” Water 11(7). Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071389. (Accessed 18 October 2022).

2). Gleason, J. A.; Canela, F. C.; Flores, C. C. (2018). “The importance of urban rainwater harvesting in circular economy: the case of Guadalajara city Article information.” Management Research Review 41(2). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/MRR-02-2018-0064. (Accessed 18 October 2022).

3). Hofman-Caris, R.; Bertelkamp, C.; De Waal, L.; Brand, T. V.; Hofman, J.; Aa, R. V.; Hoek, J. P. (2019). “Rainwater Harvesting for Drinking Water Production: A Sustainable and Cost-Effective Solution in The Netherlands?” Water 11(3):1-16. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030511. (Accessed 18 October 2022).

4). Pradhan, R.; Sahoo, J. (2019). Smart Rainwater Management: New Technologies and Innovation. In (Ed.), Smart Urban Development. IntechOpen. Available at: https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.86336. (Accessed 18 October 2022).

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