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Mumbai rainwater harvesting ensures water in dry times

Page history last edited by Rosemary 8 years, 5 months ago

While much of Mumbai, India, was reeling under a 30% water supply cut imposed in early July 2009 to help the city cope with a severe water shortage, one building was unaffected because it developed its own unique water management system after a water shortage in 2005.

The Sealine building in Khar, in western Mumbai, has a water harvesting plant that was the brainchild of 79-year-old Navin Chandra, secretary of the Sealine housing society. "If we do not conserve water now we will be in serious trouble later," he said. "The BMC talks of the Sujal Mumbai scheme (which aims at 24-hour water supply in the city). But by the time the project is completed (2025 is the revised deadline), the demand for water will double."

Water harvesting helps Sealine building save up to 40% of water everyday. The conserved water goes to all bathrooms and is used for non-drinking purposes like gardening, flushing toilets, and washing cars.

"We used to have two tankers supplying water to us a week, besides the water from the BMC," Chandra said. "This was costly. Also, the water from the tankers was quite dirty. We were forced to come up with a solution."

Rainwater harvesting does not mean just collecting water and storing it, he said. "It has to be allowed to seep into the ground and replenish the water table." Rainwater falling on the terrace of the nine-storey building is collected in an underground tank. From the tank, the water passes through channels made of earth, sand and gravel, seeps into the ground and recharges the three bore wells in the housing complex. The water from bore wells is then carried to the overhead tank for use by the building's residents.

"We have 24 hours running water supply because of this system," said Kalpana, who works as a domestic helper.

Asked if housing societies with predominantly middle-class members will be able to afford the water harvesting plant, which costs around Rs6 lakh to set up, Chandra said: "We see it is an investment for the future. Water will be the next cause for wars. Citizens will have to do something for themselves to overcome water crisis. Neither the BMC nor the government can do much about it. Every housing society should foresee this problem and take measures to pre-empt it."

This story was prepared from two sources: In this bldg, water cut is no problem by Linah Baliga/DNA, Mumbai, July 8, 2009 (Daily News & Analysis, owned by Diligent Media Corporation, and Mumbai’s homegrown solution to water crisis, by Shai Venkatraman, NDTV, Mumbai, July 10, 2009. I heard about the story in the ProPoor.org Newsletter.

The Barefoot College has been using rainwater harvesting techniques to create water supplies for rural schools. To learn how they do it, see here.

 

For more stories about rainwater harvesting, see:

Rainwater harvesting brings water, social empowerment to rural women in southern Pakistan

Rainwater harvesting allows Indian women to fill their water pots each day

Saving rainwater solves water supply challenge for Swazi grandmother

 

Also see:

Water from the air brings safe drinking water to small Indian village

Harvesting fog brings clean water to mountainous areas around the world

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