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India’s Water Bearers

Experts say Mumbai could meet 20 per cent of its need for water by harvesting rainwater. They say as much as 70 per cent of Delhi’s requirement for water could be met through rainwater harvesting

Photo Credit : pixabay.com

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AR Shivakumar, learnt to tackle the water crisis in his city — Bangalore, in a unique way. His entire house now runs on harvested rainwater. He stores water in many tanks on his roof, with a pop-up filter, for which Shivakumar has a patent.

The filter removes all the mud, muck and other particles from collected rainwater which is then sent to garage tanks. The garage tanks in turn, serve as storage tanks for water. These tanks supply the water requirements of the entire family.

Even appliances like washing machines run on reused waste water. Shivakumar, who has not received a single drop of municipal water, feels that if everyone starts harvesting rain, the water crisis in Bangalore could be solved.

Shivakumar, a senior fellow and principal investigator at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has trained several architects and contractors to integrate such water systems into new constructions.

As India’s water problem turns acute, citizens, self-help groups and corporates come forward to recharge depleting water bodies, clean the rivers and save and harvest rain water.

Our rainfall patterns suggest that India is not a water scarce country. It receives an average annual rainfall of 1170 mm, of which only six per cent gets conserved because of the poor quality of the infrastructure available  for storage. Developed nations, on the contrary, are able to harvest almost all the rain they receive.

Experts say Mumbai could meet 20 per cent of its need for water by harvesting rainwater. They say as much as 70 per cent of Delhi’s requirement for water could be met through rainwater harvesting.

The solution lies in awareness. “No water programme can be successful without involving people and sensitising them,” says Rajendra Singh, who has been able to revive several rivers in Rajasthan, bringing back water and life to thousands of villages in the area.

Similar initiatives were taken by Aabid Surti, a cartoonist and founder of the Drop Dead Foundation, an NGO that visits homes and fixes leaks every Sunday morning. The NGO saves about three lakh litres of water per year by fixing leaking pipes in Mumbai. These Indians know that every drop counts.


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Magazine 14 October 2017