Rainwater Harvesting : A Technique of great help to Indian Farmers

Article by – Shishir Tripathi
Intern at Hariyali Foundation
In collaboration with
Educational News

The Indian economy is basically an ‘Agrarian Economy’ that implies that most of the country’s working population depend upon agriculture for their livelihood. Relying upon the figures, it’s noticeable that almost 60-65% of the Indian workforce is engaged in agriculture. Being an occupation for such a large group of people in the country, agriculture in India still has a lot of problems and challenges in it.

The primary problem is the problem of irrigation. The villages and farms located near river banks and big canals are the ones who hardly face this problem of irrigation. As of June 25, 2019, nearly 65% of the country’s reservoirs were running dry. One of the worst affected areas has been the west-central state of Maharashtra, where six of the 17 reservoirs are dried out.

There are not just big farmers in the country of India. Here in India, there are tenants who work on the farms of others and those farmers too who have just a very small patch of land which they cultivate for their livelihood. Small farmers in India don’t have financial resources to get access to techniques like Drip Irrigation, availability of own tube wells, etc. Many a times, it happens that the farmers have to either take loans from moneylenders at high rates or just leave the farms parched.

The partial solution to the problem of water scarcity and the irrigation is Rainwater Harvesting. Rainwater Harvesting is simply the process of collection and storage of rain, rather than allowing it to run off freely into drains. Rainwater is collected from a roof-like surface and redirected to a tank, cistern, deep pit (well, shaft, or borehole), aquifer or a reservoir with percolation.

Now moving ahead from the ideal definition stated from Wikipedia, in reality people just have to go for a roof like system above their houses and the roofs of their dried tube wells. In this system of Rainwater harvesting, the water from the first rain showers is drained of and the rest of the water is collected. The water gets collected in a big tank throughout the rainy season and is used afterwards.

The rainwater being the purest form of water can even be used for purposes of drinking, cooking, bathing, etc. Some people collect the rainwater in underground built tanks of depth 10 -12 feet and in hotter regions like Rajasthan people collect rainwater in big rooms adjacent to the living rooms. As the water filled tanks (rooms) are just attached to the normal living rooms, it gets so cooler and pleasant in hot summers. Big tanks can be built later in future after seeing the amount of rain in the first year of trying rainwater harvesting. Farmers can use the same water for irrigation purposes too.

Though, some crops require more water but the technique of rainwater harvesting will really help the farmers to a very great extent. Government should think about providing some subsidies to the poor farmers for building some tanks like this for saving the precious rain water.

First of all it will be an ecofriendly technique and secondly a cost saving technique too.
People living in the regions of North – East have adopted the similar technique for saving water. There are pipes built from bamboo that are used to supply water from one place to another. The tanks are built at the bottom of the hills; these are community tanks built by all the villagers together. The walls and the floors of the tanks are plastered with paddy husk to avoid seepage of water and later whenever the tank gets empty the soil and the silt at the base is used as manure by the farmers.

Similar Environment friendly techniques are needed to be promoted and implemented in other parts of India so that the farmers should not suffer from problems like scarcity of water. And also there should be techniques for the storage of water that gets logged in towns and villages. The same water should be treated and used for recharging the ground water resources which are getting empty by each passing day.

Therefore, the shift towards eco-friendly techniques like Rainwater Harvesting will give sustained prosperity in the field of Agriculture.