Rainwater Harvesting Potential in India

Water has been considered as a free resource for years. With the rapid growth in population and increasing demand for water on one hand and depletion of available water on the other has led India to acute water stress. This article explains the rainwater harvesting potential in India and how it can save us from becoming a water-scarce nation.

Rainfall In India
On average, India receives about 4,000 cubic kilometres of rains annually or about 1,720 cubic metres of freshwater per person every year, out of which 700 cubic kilometres is immediately lost of the atmosphere, 2150 cubic kilometres soaks into the ground, and 1150 cubic kilometres flows as surface run-off.
More than 70 % of the annual rainfall occurs during its monsoon seasons (June to September), with the northeast and north receiving far more rains than India's west and south. India currently stores only 6% of its annual rainfall or 253 billion cubic metres, while developed nations strategically store 250% of the annual rainfall in arid river basins.

Water Demand and Resources
India dedicated about 688 cubic kilometres (84%) to irrigation, 56 cubic kilometres (7%) to municipal and drinking water applications and 69 cubic kilometres (9%) to industries and other applications.

Other than rains, the melting of snow over the Himalayas after winter season feeds the northern rivers to varying degrees. India also relies excessively on groundwater resources, which accounts for over 50 percent of the irrigated area.

Rainwater Harvesting Potential
Based on average annual rainfall and water demand, India has great rainwater harvesting potential to fulfil the water needs of all the sectors alone. 

Water Demand in km3
Rainwater Utilization(When 80 % of rainwater is harvested)
688910107220.9 %27.5 %32.4 %
56731021.6 %2.2 %3 %
Industry & Others
691102732 %3.3 %8.3 %
8131093144725 %33 %44 %

Way Forward
It is clearly extrapolated that not even 50 % of rainwater is utilized on combing all the sectors water demand by 2050. This is just rainwater, we have other water resources too. India just needs proper water management and it will never run out of water for at least 100 years. Water conservation, it all starts with us. Individual contribution is important to protect our natural resources. Use water precisely and save it to use it tomorrow.  


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