Health Aspects of Roof Water Harvesting (RWH)

The water quality of roof water harvesting is very crucial as some household water is swallowed or drunk with food. Rain water has an excellent quality which comes second to distilled water. Even in the industrial or urban areas, it has a bare minimum contamination. The other positive factors are that it is soft, clear and tastes pleasant. But, impurities can contaminate the rain water after it has fallen on to the surface. Roof water harvesting gives a much cleaner run-off than ground level run-off.

Read on to know more about the health aspects of roof water harvesting. This includes the path or mode of contamination and reported illnesses associated with roof water harvesting.

Path of Contamination

Roof water harvesting provides resistance to microbiological contaminants and various other chemical contaminants. One of the main mode of water contamination is water washed in from the roof. But, the prime reason for most disease outbreaks is direct contamination of water in the tank via a vector like a insect, lizard or rat. Even accidents can result in contamination.

The impurities washed in from the roof arise from several sources such as:

  • Debris accumulated in the roof or blown onto the roof during a storm
  • Decayed construction material can also contaminate the water, for example, tar sheets or thatch
  • Water flowing along dirty gutters

Disease Outbreaks due to RWH

Only a few rare cases of disease outbreaks due to RWH have been reported. This is because properly maintained RWH systems contain clean water. Also, the outbreaks are confined to one RHW system and doesn’t become widespread.

A few cases occur due to accidental contamination or poor RHW practice. Also, one of the main reasons is


which is delivered by small mammals or bird feces. But, these were not fatal. Also, a few reports of gastroenteritis associated with


have been noticed.

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