Rainwater Harvesting by Freemark Abbey Winery

William Jaeger, owner of Freemark Abbey Winery must decide whether he harvest the Riseling grapes immediately or leave them on the vines despite the approaching storm. Rain could damage the crop but delaying the harvest would be risky. On the other hand, rain could be beneficial and greatly increase the value of the resulting wine. The winery produced only premium wines from the best grape varieties. Harvesting Grapes for WinemakingThe first step in winemaking is harvesting grapes. Traditionally, grapes were handpicked for winemaking but now we have an alternate way of harvesting grapes—mechanical harvesting. This method was first introduced in the 1960s and has been adopted by many wineries all around the world for various benefits that it offers. There are some wineries that still prefer hand-picked grapes and they have their reasons for it. Both methods have their pros and cons. Although close to three fourths of our planet is made of water, not all of it is suitable for use. The water in the oceans and seas cannot be used as drinking water and little of it can be utilized for other purposes. As a result, there is a constant shortage of water that is either good for drinking or home and industrial use. Areas on the planet that have long faced water shortage were able to combat this problem by harvesting what little rain water they received. This slowly started spreading to areas where there was plenty of rainfall. As a result, the modern-day rainwater harvesting system was bought into place.

Rainwater is collected when it falls on the earth, stored and utilized at a later point. It can be purified to make it into drinking water, used for daily applications and even utilized in large scale industries. In short, Rainwater harvesting is a process or technique of collecting, filtering, storing and using rainwater for irrigation and for various other purposes. To reduce the consumption of groundwater, many people around the world are using rainwater harvesting systems. This practice has been around for thousands of years and has been growing at a rapid pace. Till today, rainwater is used as a primarily source of drinking water in several rural areas. The best thing about rainwater is that it is free from pollutants as well as salts, minerals, and other natural and man-made contaminants. In areas where there is excess rainfall, the surplus rainwater can be used recharge ground water through artificial recharge techniques.

Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting

  1. Easy to Maintain: Harvesting rainwater allows us to better utilize an energy resource. It is important to do so since drinking water is not easily renewable and it helps in reducing wastage. Systems for the collection of rainwater are based on simple technology.
  2. Reducing Water Bills: Water collected in the rainwater harvesting system can be put to use for several non-drinking functions as well. For many families and small businesses, this leads to a large reduction in their utilities bill.
  3. Suitable for Irrigation: Rainwater is free from many chemicals found in ground water, making it suitable for irrigation and watering gardens. In fact, storing large reservoirs of harvested water is a great idea for areas where forest fires and bush fires are common during summer months.
  4. Reduces Demand on Ground Water: With increase in population, the demand for water is also continuously increasing. The end result is that many residential colonies and industries are extracting ground water to fulfill their daily demands. This has led to depletion of ground water which has gone to significant low level in some areas where there is huge water scarcity.
  5. Reduces Floods and Soil Erosion: During rainy season, rainwater is collected in large storage tanks which also helps in reducing floods in some low-lying areas. Apart from this, it also helps in reducing soil erosion and contamination of surface water with pesticides and fertilizers from rainwater run-off which results in cleaner lakes and ponds.
  6. Can be Used for Several Non-drinking Purposes: Rainwater when collected can be used for several non-drinking functions including flushing toilets, washing clothes, watering the garden, washing cars etc. It is unnecessary to use pure drinking water if all we need to use it for some other purpose rather than drinking.

Disadvantages of Rainwater Harvesting

  1. Unpredictable Rainfall: Rainfall is hard to predict and sometimes little or no rainfall can limit the supply of rainwater. It is not advisable to depend on rainwater alone for all your water needs in areas where there is limited rainfall. Rainwater harvesting is suitable in those areas that receive plenty of rainfall.
  2. Initial High Cost: Depending on the system’s size and technology level, a rainwater harvesting system may cost anywhere between $200 to $2000 and benefit from it cannot be derived until it is ready for use. Like solar panels, the cost can be recovered in 10-15 years which again depends on the amount of rainfall and sophistication of the system.
  3. Regular Maintenance: Rainwater harvesting systems require regular maintenance as they may get prone to rodents, mosquitoes, algae growth, insects and lizards. They can become as breeding grounds for many animals if they are not properly maintained.
  4. Certain Roof Types may Seep Chemicals or Animal Droppings: Certain types of roofs may seep chemicals, insects, dirt or animals droppings that can harm plants if it is used for watering the plants.
  5. Storage Limits: The collection and storage facilities may also impose some kind of restrictions as to how much rainwater you can use. During the heavy downpour, the collection systems may not be able to hold all rainwater which ends in going to to drains and rivers.

We will solve this case by a decision tree. A Decision tree are excellent tools for helping you to choose between several courses of action. They provide a highly effective structure within which you can lay out options and investigate the possible outcomes of choosing those options. They also help you to form a balanced picture of the risks and rewards associated with each possible course of action. Freemark abbey winery’s decision tree- The decision tree will generally have the following elements- Rectangles: it represent the decision or choice Circles: it correspond to uncertain outcomes, with each following branch describing an outcome with a specified probability. Triangles: it signifies the end of the path through the decision tree.