NCWR

About NCWR

Rainwater Harvesting Systems in practice

In a nutshell

In this activity we will be informed about the various tanks and systems that are used for rainwater harvesting; and how such systems are constructed.

45 min

11-13 years old

In class

Our objectives

In this activity you will:

  • Be informed about the tanks for collecting rainwater.
  • See how a rainwater harvesting system is installed in practice.
  • Be motivated in installing a rainwater harvesting system in your school or house.

Water-readings

A rainwater harvesting system

A rainwater harvesting system has the following main operating features:

  • The catchment or collection surface e.g. the terrace or roof
  • The water conveyance system: the pipes
  • The storage facility: the tank
  • The delivery system, more pipes (!) and pumps too,
  • Filters to make the water cleaner and safe to use.

Nevertheless,  the “protagonist” in a water work is always the tank  in which the water is stored. The tanks to store rainwater () vary in terms of size and materials used. In any case, their size should be proportional to the size of the collection surface. Apart from the amount of water to be collected and stored, another criteria to choose the tank is the available budget.

The most commonly used rainwater harvesting tanks  are made of concrete, plastic and metal.

Play & learn

Let’s find out what are the “advantages” and “disadvantages” of the different material used in tanks for rainwater harvesting.

Move the mouse over the pictures to get all details!

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Water-readings

Open water reservoirs

Open water reservoirs are barriers that impound rainwater, stormwater and stream runoff. The open water reservoirs are constructed to collect water for supply and irrigation, mainly in rural communities.

One can say that the open water reservoirs have as strong points that they collect large water volume; they have a long lifespan; and, they can prevent floods. Nevertheless, in their “weak” points we may say the water losses from evaporation; the stagnant water; the difficulties they have in their maintenance or repairings.

Watch this video to have an idea of how these open water reservoirs are constructed. In this video you will see how a Rainwater Harvesting System was installed and is functioning in Sikinos Island, Greece.

Open rainwater harvesting reservoir installed in Nisyros Island, Greece 

Water-readings

The modular RWH system

Another type of tanks is the “modular underground” one.  The tank comprises of three-dimensional fittings of cubic form units that have a 95% capacity because of the lightweight skeletal structure of each unit. The units are made of recycled polypropylene, a high resistance and sustainable material.

How are these structures installed?

First, the site is excavated and the base is prepared, to be covered with a layer of thin sand to a depth of 100 mm. A non-woven and/or a is installed on the base. The modules are assembled to the desired configuration and then, placed in the base.  Piping is installed and then the geotextile and/or the geomembrane are wrapped around the installed modules. Clean sand backfill is placed around the sides and above the tank. The subsurface nature of the modular tanks frees up space for surface landscaping, driveway or parking lot use while meeting the storm water detention requirements of an area.

Preparation of the base 

Installation of the modular tank

The structure before closing up the surface

 

 

 

Watch this video showing the installation process.

 

Play & learn

Based on what you read, if you were to install a RWH system what type will you choose for:

A: Case

B: Type of a tank

  • 1 the yard of a school with a big surface 1
  • 2 the outskirts of a town on a hill's slope 2
  • 3 a new building having a spacious basement 3
  • 1 A modular tank
  • 2 An open reservoir
  • 3 A plastic tank

Water shares

Have you noticed any rainwater harvesting tank installed in a building in your city or in the wider region? If yes, take a picture of it and upload it here!


Water meter

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