Harvesting Water

Rotary Club Bali Ubud Sunset [RCBUS} will initiate water harvesting in the arid Karangasem region as its newest project. Water harvesting is the collection of rainwater runoff in order to provide water for use by humans, animals, or crops. RCBUS water harvesting methods are of little or no cost and will help alleviate some of the water shortage problems in this area. Rain is:

  • Free
  • Good for plants and animals
  • Can be used by humans AFTER it is boiled
  • Helps replenish ground water
  • Improves the environment
  • Adds to the water supply in general
  • Reduces the need for trucked water


OLLA (pronounced oy-yah) POTS

Olla pots are an ancient method of irrigation that has been used for over 4,000 years. The pots are a very cost effective, efficient watering system. Ollas are large, round, unglazed clay pots that have a neck. Wide pots are the most efficient. To irrigate your garden or individual plant, bury the Olla in soil leaving the neck exposed. If you plant seeds or plants around the buried Olla, radius is based on the size of the pot. The pots usually hold about 6 liters of water, but they can be any size. They should be buried no further than 45 cm from the plants in need of water. Fill the Olla with water, place a rock on the neck of the pot to prevent evaporation of the water and let the pot water your plants. It works because the unglazed clay is porous. After a few hours water slowly seeps out through the clay wall of the pot, directly irrigating roots or seeds around the pots. In time the plants’ roots will literally wrap around the pot. The plants use of the water. There is no evaporation of water because the water source is in the ground. Plants can’t be over or under watered because they will take only what water they need. The pots will need to be filled once or twice a week. Because the top of the Olla pot extends above ground, it can be refilled as water is absorbed.

The benefits of Olla irrigation are:

  • Water delivered directly to the root zone
  • No runoff or evaporation problems
  • Plants receive consistent moisture
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • No need for water pressure or pump



This passive watering system is well suited for trees and large plants. Simply choose a tree or plants that you wish to water. Dig a shallow, sloping trench around a plant or tree. The radius of the circle should about 91 centimeters. Start digging the trench at ground level and slope it to the tree trunk where the trench should be about 7 centimeters deep. Surround the circular trench with a layer or two of stacked rocks, each the size of a fist or a bit larger. Rainwater will be captured in the trench and sink slowly into the ground, watering the tree or large plant instead of creating a fast runoff.

Water harvesting can also occur it small, stone lined basins are placed between smaller plants. Such basins will capture the rainwater, keeping it from becoming runoff while slowly watering the roots of the plants.

The benefits of water basin irrigation are:

  • Water delivered directly to the root zone
  • Reduced runoff or evaporation problems
  • Plants receive more consistent moisture
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • No need for water pressure or pump



A rain barrel is a large container that can be used to collect water during a rainstorm. It can be made of plastic, metal, glazed pottery or even bamboo lined with plastic sheeting. Place the rain barrel in a place where there is a vigorous runoff of water when it rains known as the catchment area. This could be by the corner of a building with a pitched roof or by rock or land formations that have runoff channels. After the barrel has been chosen, choose a material for a gutter. The gutter will be used to direct the runoff water from the catchment area into the rain barrel. Gutters can be made of PVC piping, bamboo or tin bent to form a V shape. Attach the gutter in the catchment area where it will capture the most amount of rain fall. For example, attach the gutter along the edge of a roof that slopes downward to the barrel. As it rains, the runoff from that section of the roof will be captured in the barrel. Remember to cover the opening of the rain barrel with fine mesh or cloth and secure it. This is to prevent debris from entering the collected water. It will also prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs in the water. With a simple rain barrel, the water can be dipped out and used to water plants and animals and for humans to use to bathe. If the water is to be used for human consumption, it must be boiled for a minimum of 3 minutes.

If you would like to know more about water harvesting, no matter where you live, please contact http://rotarybaliubudsunset.org.

If you would interested in joining this dynamic group of people who love Bali and work to help the people who live here, information to do so can be found at http://rotarybaliubudsunset.org/how-to-become-an-rcbus-member/.


Copyright © 2020 Rotary News

You can read all past articles of Rotary News at www.BaliAdvertiser.biz