Harvesting rainwater involves collecting and storing rainwater for future use. It’s a method that’s been around for a long time and continues to provide water for many people today. With the current water crisis and increasing population, it has become more important than ever to conserve water and rainwater harvesting is a great way to do so.

Rainwater harvesting in Burkina Faso

Rainwater harvesting is a simple process that can be done in a variety of ways. The most common way is to collect rainwater from rooftops and store it in tanks or cisterns. The water can then be used for irrigation, flushing toilets, washing clothes, and even for drinking after it has been properly treated.

One of the primary benefits of rainwater harvesting is that it reduces the demand on municipal water supplies. This is especially important in areas where water is scarce or where water is being rationed due to drought conditions. By collecting and using rainwater, individuals and communities can reduce their dependence on municipal water supplies and help to ensure that there is enough water to go around.

Rainwater harvesting is also good because it cuts down on the amount of storm water runoff, which can cause flooding and erosion. When rainwater is collected and stored, it doesn’t run off into the streets, gutters, and storm drains. This not only lowers the risk of flooding and erosion, but it also helps improve the quality of the water in streams and rivers by reducing the amount of pollution that gets carried into them.

Rainwater harvesting also helps cut down on water bills and gives you a backup source of water in case of an emergency. Homeowners can save a lot of money on their water bills by using rainwater for things other than drinking. And if there is a problem with the water supply, rainwater can be used to drink and cook with.

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Overall, rainwater harvesting is a simple and effective way to conserve water and reduce our dependence on municipal water supplies. With the current water crisis, it is more important than ever to find ways to conserve water and rainwater harvesting is a great way to do so. Whether you are a homeowner or a community, there are many benefits to implementing a rainwater harvesting system and taking steps to conserve water.

Q: What are some disadvantages of rainwater harvesting?

A: There are several disadvantages of rainwater harvesting, including:

  1. Initial Cost: The initial cost of installing a rainwater harvesting system can be high, especially if you want to use it for potable water. The cost includes buying and installing the storage tanks, filters, and pumps.
  2. Maintenance: Rainwater harvesting systems require regular maintenance to ensure that they function effectively. This includes cleaning the gutters and filters, checking for leaks, and monitoring the water quality.
  3. Limited supply: The amount of rainwater that can be collected is limited by the size of the catchment area and the amount of rainfall in the area. In areas with low rainfall, the system may not be able to collect enough water to meet the demand.
  4. Contamination: There is a risk of contamination of the water collected from rooftops, which can contain debris, bird droppings, and other pollutants. This can make the water unsuitable for drinking or other domestic uses.
  5. Energy requirements: Rainwater harvesting systems often require energy to pump the water from the storage tanks to where it is needed. This can increase the carbon footprint of the system.

Q: How does the initial cost of rainwater harvesting compare to other water sources?

A: The initial cost of rainwater harvesting can be higher than other water sources such as groundwater or surface water. However, the long-term benefits of rainwater harvesting, such as reduced water bills and increased water availability during droughts, can outweigh the initial cost.

Q: Can rainwater harvesting be used for drinking water?

A: Rainwater harvesting can be used for drinking water, but it requires a high level of treatment to ensure that the water is safe to drink. The water must be filtered and disinfected to remove any contaminants, and the treatment process can be expensive.

Q: How can the limited supply of rainwater be overcome?

A: The limited supply of rainwater can be overcome by using water-efficient appliances and fixtures, reducing water waste, and using alternative sources of water when rainwater is not available. Additionally, larger storage tanks can be used to store more water during rainy periods.

Q: What are some common contaminants in rainwater?

A: Common contaminants in rainwater include dirt, debris, bird droppings, pesticides, and chemicals from roofing materials.

Table 1: Pros and cons of rainwater harvesting



Conserves water

Initial cost can be high

Reduces demand on freshwater

Requires regular maintenance

Can be used for drinking water

Limited supply

Increases water availability during droughts

Risk of contamination

Environmentally friendly

Energy requirements can increase carbon footprint

Table 2: Common contaminants in rainwater




Rooftops, pavements


Rooftops, trees

Bird droppings

Rooftops, trees


Rooftops, nearby fields

Chemicals from roofing materials



Rainwater harvesting is an effective way to conserve water and reduce the demand on freshwater sources. However, it also has several disadvantages that should be considered before installing a rainwater harvesting system.

Some of these problems are the initial cost, the need for maintenance, the limited supply, the chance of contamination, and the energy needed. But these problems can be lessened with good planning and maintenance. It’s important to think about the pros and cons of collecting rainwater and how it compares to other ways to get water so you can choose the best method for your needs.

Also, it is important to make sure that a qualified professional installs and maintains the rainwater harvesting system to make sure it works well and safely.

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