Rainwater Harvesting History

Whenever we think about rainwater harvesting history, some question comes to our mind. Such as: When did rainwater harvesting start? Was it an early source of water? What makes it an everyday water source?

The capture and storage of rainwater go back many thousands of years ago to when we first began to cultivate the land and had to discover new crop irrigation methods. In many parts of the world, people still use rainwater harvesting to provide water for their homes, gardens, and livestock.

It is a source of water that is more readily available than the tap and a renewable resource. Today, rainwater collection is widely used for landscaping and sustainable development. There are many benefits and uses of rainwater, but it has its challenges. Understanding the rainwater harvesting history is essential to understand the practice’s gifts and challenges.

Why Collect Rainwater?

The world is facing a growing need to address climate change. Water conservation can have a significant impact on a sustainable environment. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in water scarcity over the last few years in many parts of the globe. In terms of per capita natural freshwater resources, our country is facing a water scarcity problem. Three factors are responsible for this: low annual rainfall, a small catchment area, and high population density. Furthermore, according to prediction, temperature and rain are expected to change by 2021, as climate change will alter and worsen the island’s water precipitation patterns.

Over the years, our country has expanded its water resources through rainwater harvesting. The best time to discuss rainwater harvesting is December when the country experiences the highest rainfall. Rainwater harvesting can have significant economic and environmental benefits. However, the majority of our rainwater still ends up in the ocean. Therefore, we must install rainwater cisterns in all buildings and houses. This process is vital for new building development. A functioning rainwater harvesting system such as a reservoir or well can reduce the running costs of buildings and improve the environmental quality.

Origin of Rainwater Harvesting

It’s hard to determine who first began collecting rainwater. Since it’s as easy as putting out the barrel, people may have collected rainwater for a long time before it was included as a cultural practice. However, the oldest known infrastructure goes back to 5000 BC within the Indus Valley, which lies between present-day India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The Indus Valley evolution was extremely sophisticated water and sewage systems of the time, and the technology was incorporated into their society and incorporated into their cities.

The simple structure of these arrangements typically included a large rock shaped into a sink using mud and other stones to stop it from leakage. In addition, with various diversion methods, we wash, drink agriculture, and many other uses.

Rainwater Harvesting History of the Middle East


The Central East region has a long and rich history of rain gathering. For example, since around 2000 B.C., individuals in the Negev Desert, today Israel, have lasted by collecting water from the hillsides and keeping it in containers.
In the time of the ancient civilizations that existed, rainwater harvesting tanks became common on a home basis; as per the historical proceedings of the period during the Middle East, cisterns of this kind could be anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 gallons.

Typically, they were placed underground. However, cisterns for community use be located popular. They used technologies like residue traps before inflowing the massive cistern, which could contain as much as the capacity of 1,000,000 Gallons of rainwater. Larger tanks may have 1 million Gallons of water, similar to one found in Jordan.

Rainwater Collection in Ancient Rome

Sunken Palace

The harvesting of rainwater was ordinary during the Roman Empire. Although Roman Aqueducts are popular, Roman cisterns were also widely used, and their construction grew as part of the Empire’s expansion. For instance, in Pompeii, rooftop water storage was standard before the first aqueduct was constructed in the 1st century B.C. This development continued throughout the Byzantine Empire, such as the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul.

The most stunning rainwater harvesting structure is inside Istanbul inside The Sunken Palace, which was used to capture water from the roads around it. It’s so big that you can sail around it on a boat.

Northern America

Native Americans used regular streams of rainwater from mountains to gather and use all over their villages. In central Mexico, concealed cisterns and cisterns with shade were found and utilized to collect rainwater.

In the 16th-17th century, early colonists started using rainwater to wash their clothes due to its softness and natural nature. Native Americans were the first to use the terms “hard water” and “soft water” because of the difficulties that resulted when they attempted to use mineral-rich water to wash their clothes. Soap would react with hard water, causing a build-up that could occur contrary to the situation with soft water, which effortlessly flows dirt and soap.

The Decline in Rainwater Harvesting

There started to be problems with the old method of gathering rainwater. As raised civilization and cisterns were constructed, they became increasingly dirty. Moreover, this collected water resulted in the spread of illnesses since modern knowledge was not yet accessible to eradicate the bacteria.

As cities grew and travel became more prevalent traditional cisterns carried an increased chance of spreading diseases. In the end, the cistern was primarily utilized in areas where geographical location and climate offered an alternative. Technologies for providing and storing water developed, and traditional rainwater catchments ceased to be used.

Many homes in rural areas of Australia depend on rainwater collection to provide the water needed for their everyday needs.

Modern Rainwater Harvesting


The rainwater collection was still in its early stages. Many farms were still using rainwater cisterns to feed their livestock. However, as technology improved in water treatment, rainwater became a principal water source for many people.

Why is rainwater harvesting gaining popularity in today’s world?

The world is facing a growing need to address climate change. Water conservation can have a significant impact on the environment. Groundwater is the primary source of freshwater to meet the increasing demand from the industrial, domestic and agricultural sectors. In addition, the groundwater is essential for daily needs such as cleaning, toileting, and bathing. However, water wastage is a significant problem in modern societies.

While development has many benefits, there are also side effects to it. This development is affecting our natural underground water supply. Groundwater recharge is an essential step in the water cycle. Water use in constructing roads and cities and the growing population in Metropolitan areas cause water scarcity. Stormwater is collected and sent to rivers or the deep sea.

Large amounts of water must touch the earth and be immersed into the ground to restock alternative channels. Water sources are becoming scarcer because rainwater water harvesting and groundwater recharging are two of the best ways to conserve water worldwide. We can use this water instead of traditional water supplies, which are on the brink of being exhausted.

Rainwater Harvesting Around the Globe                        

Although we might be a ways behind on our recycling of rainwater, the majority worldwide is taking on this increase in recent times. For example, the U.K. sustainability policy for homes now recommends that homes be furnished with an underground tank to store rainwater for different cleaning tasks. In addition, many new homes built in China and Brazil have rainwater harvesting systems on rooftops, and several nations are now requiring to go green concerning our most essential resource.

In many states of the U.S. in the U.S., until recently, rainwater harvesting was a policy that was strongly dissuaded. However, new legislation is getting ready to allow homes to implement the technology to conserve water for their homes.

In Israel, they are starting to set up rainwater harvesting equipment at schools to teach children the value of water conservation. In South Africa, research is well on the way to identifying tiny innovative ways to use catchment technology. Rainwater harvesting’s future is in good shape. The best aspect is installing many modern systems without much effort.

Author: Faiza IqbalI am an enthusiastic content writer and SEO expert. I want to spread knowledge and awareness about current and future environmental issues through my articles.

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