The Potential of Rainwater Harvesting systems For Battling Water Crisis in Twin Cities

By: Marfaa Naseem

“In the midst of every crisis lies a great opportunity” -Albert Einstein.
Day by day growing population in twin cities is increasing water demand and burden on urban water supply and management systems. This escalating pressure poses a formidable challenge that requires immediate attention and proactive measures. A study conducted by International Water Management Institute (IWMI) indicates that ground water in twin cities is depleting at rapid speed of 1.7 meters per year. The daily supply of water to the twin cities from the Simly dam and Khanpur Dam Water Supply Project is 67 million gallons daily (MGD). According to Capital Development Authority (CDA) the average demand of water is 120 million gallons daily, while the shortage of water is 53 million gallons daily.
In this dire situation, rainwater offers an excellent solution to fill the gap in household and commercial water usage, as well as facilitate groundwater recharge. Rainwater harvesting systems are a sustainable solution for conserving water resources. They capture rainwater for various uses, reducing the burden on municipal water supplies and benefiting both the environment and your wallet. Rainwater harvesting can be a simple yet impactful step towards a more eco-friendly and cost-effective water management approach. Rainwater harvesting is ideal for twin cities, given that their substantial annual rainfall is 1000 mm. Even in the driest month, November, there is 27 mm of rainfall, while the highest recorded rainfall occurs in July, reaching 186 mm. This abundant rain makes rainwater harvesting a great choice for meeting both household and commercial water needs as well as for recharging groundwater.
Rainwater harvesting in twin cities offers a range of benefits, it will reduce strain on traditional water resources. From an economic perspective rainwater harvesting will lead to decrease reliance on water tankers for individuals and businesses as well as contribute to a sustainable water supply. This is an incredibly cost-efficient system, offering a solution that will not break the bank. For a 2-story building with a catchment area of 100m2 the system installation will cost roughly about 150,000/- making it the most wallet friendly choice for individuals and businesses alike. This means even with minimum rainfall of 27mm, it will yield 2700 L of water.
The Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), in collaboration with the CDA, has successfully established around 80 recharge wells. Each of these wells has the capacity to recharge 1.9 million gallons of water into the city’s aquifer, significantly mitigating flooding of Nala Lai during the monsoon season. Furthermore, PCRWR has implemented rooftop rainwater harvesting and filtration systems within their facility, emphasizing their commitment to sustainable water management practices. In another remarkable example, Telenor has implemented an extensive rainwater harvesting system at its Headquarters. This system not only fulfills the entire building’s water needs but also plays a crucial role in supporting their innovative chilled beam heating and cooling system.
In conclusion, the potential of rainwater harvesting systems as a solution to the pressing water crisis in Islamabad and Rawalpindi is undeniable. With the twin cities facing recurring water shortages and a declining groundwater table, the need for sustainable water management practices has never been greater. Rainwater harvesting emerges as the most fitting answer, leveraging the abundant rainfall in the region. Beyond its environmental advantages, this approach also offers economic benefits and contributes to long-term water security. The collaborative efforts of organizations like PCRWR and CDA, exemplified by their establishment of rainwater harvesting systems and groundwater recharge wells, serve as inspiring models for a more water-resilient future. By harnessing the power of rain, we can ensure a sustainable water supply for the twin cities and pave the way for a greener, more water-secure tomorrow.

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