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Rainwater harvesting for storage, also known as ex situ water harvesting, is a practice in which rainwater is collected and stored for productive use, for example drinking water, agriculture, sanitation and more. The rainwater can be directly captured in open storage systems, but can also be collected from roofs, soil surfaces or roads. The most common storage devices for harvesting rainwater are tanks. The tanks are commonly plastic, but also can be made from fiberglass, wood, metal, concrete, or stone and plastered tires, depending on resource availability and costs. Simple tanks are commonly used for water capture and storage at the household level, while large capture ponds built into the ground are often for community initiatives.
Unpredictable weather patterns and seasonal water resource scarcity make this technology relevant in assuring rainwater lasts for longer time spans. It is particularly important in arid and semi-arid areas that may experience extended periods without rain mixed with periods of intense precipitation. These challenges are further exacerbated by changing climate.