Catching and storing rain water dates back more than 5 000 years, and continues to be an essential component of sustainable human existence.

This is particularly true within Southern Africa, where we have experienced irregular weather patterns for the last 10 years, with such unpredictability looking like it is here to stay.

Because of this, water management strategies have become key issues to our climate resilience and water security. In fact, the latest research on Southern Africa repeatedly highlights just how vulnerable this area of the world is, to climate change.

It has followed from this, that a massive spotlight has been put onto RAIN WATER HARVESTING as an effective solution for better water conservation. Rain water harvesting simply refers to the efficient catching and storing of rain water.

According writer Sri Rajai from The Pioneer: “The potential of rainwater harvesting makes a compelling case for itself. Sample this: One hectare of land with just 100 millimetre (mm) of rain — that’s what deserts get on an average — is capable of harvesting one million litres of water. This is quite impressive. To understand the water dependence of humans, a family of five would not need more than 10-15 litres a day for drinking and cooking. This comes to 4,000-5,000 litres in a year. This means one hectare can harvest enough water to meet the needs of 200-300 families. The scarcity of water seems like a myth now.”

The value of rain water harvesting is undeniable. The question now becomes: how is this done?

With a water bladder it is a simple exercise – attach a PVC lay flat hose (available at any builders merchant) from a down pipe and attach to the inlet of a bladder.

Then, wait for the rain.

Water bladders are made from certified food grade PVC, which means one can drink harvested rain water directly from a bladder. Algae growth cannot occur inside a bladder because it is completely black inside with zero sun penetration. If residue from gutters find their way into the bladder, these settle on the bottom and are converted into micro-organisms which lie on the bottom of the bladder, naturally creating a “filtering” process for the stored water.

It is an amazingly easy solution, to an increasingly severe problem. And, with a big enough water bladder, it has the potential to take you completely off the grid.

Many people, especially in the farming community, are reliant on borehole drilling and extraction, but there is only a finite amount of water under the ground. Harvesting allows replenishment of underground aquifers. This is vital especially along coastal areas, because if aquifers are not replenished with rain water they can be contaminated by infiltrating sea water.

As with all areas of life, a holistic and integrated solution is required – where it is through the combination of these efforts, that we can set ourselves up for a future of defined by sustainable water security.

The fact is that water scarcity is on the rise, and because of our reliance on water, we urgently need to develop laws and by-laws for common practise methods of catching and storing rain water. This is where the water management impact can truly be made.

‘Cause let’s face it, if you can’t catch it, you’re wasting it.

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