Ecosystem services from rainwater harvesting in India

Availability of a safe and reliable water supply is an issue in developing nations, including India. Rainwater harvesting (RWH) is a site-specific source control used to satisfy human, agricultural, and safety demands for water. This study analyzed the effects of capturing rainwater for a 12.5 year period (Jan 1999–Jun 2011) to provide three ecosystem services: water supplementation for indoor use, water supplementation for food production and groundwater recharge (GWR). A hydrologic analysis was completed using satellite rainfall data and a water balance approach. Two demand scenarios, indoor and outdoor, were considered, with water in excess of demand and storage directed to recharge groundwater. An economic analysis quantified RWH system net present value. The results indicated significant ecosystem services benefits were possible from RWH in India.