Rain Water Harvesting – a work of art with scientific sense

Our knowledge about outer space is much more than our knowledge about the inside of our own earth.

Water is absorbed as soon as it is poured on the ground, so like most people, we also thought that soil and water are great friends. It was only after years of experimentation that team SILVERON realized the fact that water and soil are not friends.

We noticed that the flowing water carries suspended silt and dissolved salts from the soil and collects at the base of the low-lying area. After the collected water has evaporated the silt and salts remain deposited at the base of the low-lying area.

View of hardened non-permeable low-lying land
View of hardened non-permeable low-lying land

The repetition of this process, monsoon after monsoon gradually makes the base of the low-lying area hard and non permeable hence we observed that the soil gradually creates its own resistance to percolation of water. This is the reason for formation of water bodies in low lying areas where rain water flows and stands for months even after the monsoon.

In India these water bodies are called by different names like Nadi or Johad, etc.

View of water filled during monsoon in the same low-lying land
View of water filled during monsoon in the same low-lying land

It is interesting to note that each time when the farmer waters his crop, the soil and water interaction leads to the same natural phenomenon of formation and deposition of film on the soil surface and this is one of the reasons why the farmer is required to till his land in order to break this film before planting the next crop. The tilling of soil is required even in potted plants as you must have observed.

Such natural phenomenons make sustainable rain water harvesting a tricky subject and hence it needs to be appreciated that though rain water harvesting may not be rocket science but it is not as simple as it appears. Investigative tools provide some help but still at the end of the day one has to execute the work in unknown terrain deep inside the ground.

Rain water harvesting is not just about digging a hole in the ground and releasing water into it. Rain water harvesting work calls for passion, imagination and experience as it is no less than doing a work of fine art.

Artificial Ground water recharge as some people prefer to address rain water harvesting as, is actually the most site specific work hence type of work and scope of work varies from location to location and the harvester who is experienced and who understands the subject has to often modify his design if he observes some new conditions even if his work in progress has reached an advanced stage since he understands that any compromise will lead to poor performance or holding of water in the structure.

Experts at SILVERON understand that earth cannot be forced to absorb water like an injection can force the antibiotic into human body hence they take all natural factors into account and design the rain water harvesting structure in accordance to the ground formation/strata of that area.This makes SILVERON a premier rain water harvesting solution provider and reflects performance of SILVERON recharge structures.

Supporting nature – a sure path to success                                                                 Going against nature – a recipe for failure 

SILT – a natural phenomenon

Silt is the finest particles of soil which get suspended in flowing rain water and deposit at lower courses. During monsoon period the turbulence is high hence the suspended silt does not get time to settle and the water appears murky. 

silveron-rainwater-silt
Suspended Silt in Rain Water

Most rain water harvesters divert all their efforts and attention on checking silt from flowing into their rain water harvesting structure. The most  common focus is on construction of chamber for settlement of silt. This basically is a small underground tank where through an inlet pipe rain water with suspended silt enters and clear water is expected to go out through another outlet pipe after settlement of silt (decantation).

The rain water flowing into the silt removal chamber does not get sufficient time to stand still and let the silt settle hence most of the silt flows into the recharge structure and if at all the silt settles down in the chamber, it covers and blocks the out let which in turn starves the recharge structure of water.  It is practically impossible to keep cleaning the silt chambers at regular intervals.

Silt is a natural phenomenon and should not be such a major deterrent to RWH efforts. SILVERON designs recharge shaft such that the performance is not hampered by normal silt naturally present in the flowing water.  The design is such that the silt which had entered the shaft in the previous monsoon is removed easily during the pre-monsoon maintenance in subsequent year, at almost negligible cost.

Supporting nature – a sure path to success. 
Going against nature – a recipe for failure.

Water harvesting – reason for failure

In the pursuit of designing a flawless rain water harvesting design, team SILVERON focused on choked and non functional structures to understand the reasons of failure.

It was observed that artificial ground water recharge systems designed with slotted pipe work efficiently in the first few days of rain and there after their intake efficiency reduces rapidly and finally water starts holding in them.

slotted-designs-structures
Slotted-pipe design based rainwater harvesting structures

Our study of the problem showed that in this structure design the rain water is directed to flow into the pipe with slots. This water fills the pipe and moves out of the slots to fill  the space outside the pipe and form a water column around the pipe up to the same level as that of the column inside the pipe.

The soil particles get suspended in the water column outside & both columns recede simultaneously. The suspended silt deposits inside as well as outside the pipe, blocking the slots at the last part of the pipe.  With every inflow of water, this process is repeated till all the slots in the pipe is chocked with silt and finally the pipe becomes a closed pipe – This invariably leads to system failure.                                                                             

In this system, it is expected that mother earth will absorb water as soon as it comes out of the slots while ignoring the basic principle of nature that ‘water seeks it own level’ at the first opportunity.

Nature

The English dictionary defines science as “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment”.

We at SILVERON, while analyzing the reasons which lead to failure of rain water harvesting efforts concluded that Nature is the ultimate science and natural processes, systems and principles cannot be challenged or tampered with.

We can endorse without doubt that nature knew the importance of water for life on earth so it covered the major portion of earth by seas and oceans. Let us not forget the soil with its massive capacity to hold rainwater as ground water.

Nature created the atmosphere, force of gravity, the sun, the moon, the day, the night and the seasons, the plants, the forests, the mountains, the glaciers and the rivers. Every atom, every molecule, every cell is the creation of nature.

Hundreds of thousands of natural principles like water seeking its own level, hot air or water vapor rising and colder air taking its place, clouds forming and rain fall that gives fresh water on earth, are in operation at all times.

Process of photosynthesis, refreshes the supply of oxygen and reduces carbon dioxide in the environment. Thick forests check the velocity of the wind, where every leaf acts as a seat for settlement of suspended particles in the air, where the butterflies, animals and birds make their home and help in pollination and disbursement of seeds, where the fruits and vegetables grow in abundance and from where the food chain begins.

The magnificent and amazing natural principles, processes and systems  are so well amalgamated into each other that we simply fail to take notice of them.

The list of nature’s feats is … unending!

Man is so engrossed and overwhelmed by his own self that he tries to ignore nature, often dares to challenge nature by going against its basic principles and sees reason only when nature exhibits its displeasure and fury. 

Supporting nature – a sure path to success.
Going against nature – a recipe for failure.