is the accumulating and storing, of rainwater.
It has been used to provide drinking water
, water for livestock
, water for irrigation
or to refill aquifers
in a process called groundwater recharge
. Rainwater collected from the roofs of houses, tents and local institutions, or from specially prepared areas of ground, can make an important contribution to drinking water. In some cases, rainwater may be the only available, or economical, water source. Rainwater systems are simple to construct from inexpensive local materials, and are potentially successful in most habitable locations. Roof rainwater can be of good quality and may not require treatment before consumption. Although some rooftop materials may produce rainwater that is harmful to human health, it can be useful in flushing toilets, washing clothes, watering the garden and washing cars; these uses alone halve the amount of water used by a typical home. Household rainfall catchment systems are appropriate in areas with an average rainfall greater than 200 mm (7.9 in) per year, and no other accessible water sources (Skinner and Cotton, 1992).
There are a number of types of systems to harvest rainwater ranging from very simple to the complex industrial systems. Generally, rainwater is either harvested from the ground or from a roof. The rate at which water can be collected from either system is dependent on the plan area of the system, its efficiency, and the intensity of rainfall (i.e annual precipitation (mm per annum) x square meter of catchment area = litres per annum yield) ... a 200 square meter roof catchment catching 1,000mm PA yields 200 kLPA. source; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainwater_harvesting