Water way to be!

Bangaloreans pushed to the brink by acute water shortage could learn a thing or two from A R Shivakumar, who has not received a water bill in the last 16 years

Rain Water Harvesting

He has not been given a water bill in the last 16 years, and the BWSSB doesn’t mind a bit. A R Shivakumar, principal researcher of Rain Water Harvesting, KSCST, and his family of four, have been meeting their daily needs with rain water for the last sixteen summers.

Shivakumar offered to take us on a tour of his eco-friendly house Sourabha, in Vijayanagar, to display his advanced rain water harvesting system that makes him completely independent of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB).
Shivakumar’s wife Suma is used to his eccentricities as a scientist.

But when he suggested that they forego a BWSSB line completely, in the new house they were building in 1997, she thought it was extreme. He convinced her then that she would not have to depend on neighbours for water, and eventually ended up building the house without depending on BWSSB.

“I created a shallow reservoir at the lowest slope of my site for the water to collect and we used just that to build our house,” he says. Today, Suma says, “We have never had a dry day and neither have we depended on tankers to help us out.”
Shivakumar has a two-level roof with two overhead tanks on each level. The roof acts as a catchment area connected to the second floor tank which is in turn connected to the linked underground pumps.

“During a full season, I have 45,000 litres of water in my house which can be used for 110 days. And in the last 100 years, the time gap between two showers in Bangalore has never exceeded three months. In Bangalore, we get about 40 inches of rain and with my surface areas, that translates to about 2.3 lakh litres of water every year. As a family of four, we use about 1.8 lakh litres of water. Where is the question of shortage?” he says.

But he does have a back-up for a (non) rainy day. The excess 50,000 litres of water that is not stored by the family in any of the tanks is directed to a shallow borewell which has water within the first 30 feet.

For clean drinking water, he uses a silver sheet that is immersed in a 10 litre tank. Put it in the water for six hours and what you have is zero-bacteria drinking water available, he says.

Water supply system
* Number of over head tanks – Two of 5,000 litre capacity
* Number of underground tanks – Two of 25,000 litres and 10,000 litres capacity
* Number of  motor pumps – 3
* Number of borewells – one

Manasi Paresh Kumar – From Times Group – Bangalore Mirror

Coimbatore: Corporation puts up rainwater harvesting structure

Will end stagnation on road and inundation of nearby houses: Mayor

COIMBATORE: The Coimbatore Corporation has put up a rainwater harvesting structure measuring around 200 sq.ft. at Chinthamani Nagar of Ward 62, with the twin objective of recharging the aquifer and also solving a 20-year problem of water stagnation.

Twin objective:Mayor R. Venkatachalam explains the features of a rainwater harvesting structure built by the Coimbatore Corporation at Chinthamani Nagar in ward no:62 . — Photo: K. Ananthan.

The civic body has used a reserved site, north of NSR Road, to put up the structure 15 ft below the road level. “The structure runs another 15 ft deep. Siruthuli (a public initiative for water resources conservation) has sunk a 280-ft deep bore well,” Mayor R. Venkatachalam said on Monday.

Ward councillor R. Gayathri said: “Once operational, the new structure will solve the problem of stagnation of rain water at this spot. A faulty gradient from the main road and another from a street led to rain water flowing towards the site and stagnating in front of a few houses,” she explained.

The councillor said people residing in a house near the reserved site used to move out of the place during heavy rain as water entered the compound.

Pointing at a channel at the entrance of the site, the Mayor said rain water would flow through this into the rainwater harvesting structure. The Rs.7-lakh project also consisted of landscaping around the core water harvesting structure.

The area for landscaping was being prepared on all four sides of the harvest pit. Pipes had been provided here also to take the rain water seeping into the soil to the harvest spot. Slopes had been formed further down the landscape section so that rain water could flow to the harvest area. The outer ring of the facility was being provided with a walkers’ track measuring four feet wide. A barricade and a gate would separate the track from the landscape and the harvest structure.

A private party would take up maintenance of the landscaped area and the track and also the task of providing security. “The public can use only the walkers’ track,” the Mayor said.

The barricades would have boards with slogans that called upon the public to shun plastic bags and save rain water.

“There will be an advice to the people that they should pay Property Tax and drinking water charges promptly as only this revenue will help the Corporation provide various facilities, including good rain water harvesting structures,” Mr. Venkatachalam said.

The Mayor explained that the harvest structure could absorb 6,000 cubic ft of water. “We want to complete the work before the South West Monsoon turns vigorous,” he said.


Tamilnadu: Paddy harvest on 75,000 acres has been stalled

Farmers’ association vice-chief blames shortage of manpower

CUDDALORE: Shortage of manpower has stalled paddy harvest on 75,000 acres in the tail-end delta region of Kattumannarkoil and Chidambaram blocks, according to V. Kannan, vice-president of Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Association.

He told The Hindu that harvest in 50 per cent of the total of 1.5 lakh acres under paddy was affected or was not taking place at all for want of adequate farm hands. The belated harvest would not only reduce the yield but also the quality of grains.

During normal time, the average paddy yield per acre would be 1.25 tonne, but the delayed harvest would cut down the yield prospects by 20 per cent. Therefore, it would lead to an economic stress on farmers. For every acre, at least 20 workers would be required for 10-15 days to harvest the paddy and thrash out the grains. But, it was almost impossible to find so many labourers because youth detest farm jobs, Mr. Kannan said.

They were not inclined to work in fields from morning to evening for meagre wages and opting for jobs in the better-paid construction industry. The average age of farm worker was now 50 years and above and, therefore, productivity expected could not be high. Harvesting machinery too was in short supply, Mr. Kannan said. Even if available, the rent or hire charges were high. A farmer would have to shell out Rs. 1,050 to Rs. 1,900 an hour for hiring a tyre harvester and Rs. 1,400 to Rs. 1,900 an hour for chain harvester.

For lack of alternative solution, even small farmers having less than four acres would have to engage the machinery. Mr. Kannan opined that such a situation would force the farmers to quit farming.

The situation has to be reversed or it would affect food availability and market prices of essential commodities.


Tirunelveli: Cadets take out rally for rainwater harvesting

They stress on need for creating the facility in every house

TIRUNELVELI: Over 300 NCC cadets of various schools here took out an awareness rally in Palayamkottai on Sunday to create awareness of rainwater harvesting.

After Mayor A.L. Subramanian flagged off the rally at VOC Ground, the processionists traversed Punithavathiyar Street, Palayamkottai Head Post Office Road, St. John’s College Road and South Bazaar before reaching the starting point.

The rallyists were holding placards pressing the need for creating rainwater harvesting structure in every house, business establishment, public places and private properties.

WATER IS PRECIOUS: NCC cadets taking out a rally at Palayamkottai on Sunday to create awarness of rainwater harvesting. (Right) A view of the rally in Tuticorin. — Photos: A_Shaikmohideen and N. Rajesh

WATER IS PRECIOUS: NCC cadets taking out a rally at Palayamkottai on Sunday to create awarness of rainwater harvesting. (Right) A view of the rally in Tuticorin. — Photos: A_Shaikmohideen and N. Rajesh


Army and naval cadets of various schools took out a rally here. L.S.T. Betz Fernandez, ex- Cadet Captain, Naval Wing, NCC, flagged off the rally near Our Lady of Snows Shrine Basilica on Beach Road. The rally wound through the thoroughfares of V.E. Road, W.G.C. Road. F. Benny Morais, Troop Commander, 3 (TN) Naval Unit NCC, St. La Salle Higher Secondary School, led the rally. Subsequently, the models of rain water harvesting equipment were exhibited at a private hotel near the shrine.


Karnataka: Bangalore-Making rain water harvesting mandatory

BANGALORE: The city recorded above-average rainfall in September. Yet, much of the water went down the drain or flooded low-lying areas. It’s been the same story almost every year. Rain water harvesting could have made such a big difference.

The November 1 ultimatum to start on mandatory rain water harvesting for new buildings is not the first. Building bye laws of 2004 had also made it mandatory but they weren’t implemented. The big question is: What’s taking a simple concept so many amendments, regulations and deadlines to implement? Till date, less than 3,000 houses in the city harvest rain water.

Most low-lying areas in the city that constitute 20% of the total area don’t prefer RWH as they fear floods. Interestingly, there is good response to ground water recharging but not to rain water harvesting, explain BWSSB officials. And, space constraints and lack of awareness deters others. Curiously, a few people feel that RWH could result in excess stock of water.

The recent amendment of the BWSSB Act that’s made rain water harvesting mandatory for new and bigger old buildings could bring about a change. Provided, citizens understand the law, get the system installed and also trained in handling it.


The outlines and specifications of the structure is available in the revised law currently posted on the BWSSB website. However, Avinash Krishnamurthy, a member of the Rainwater Club, feels people need professional help to design a system complying with the law. They also need trained plumbers and masons as well as money to invest in the structure. Some plumbers and masons well versed in this are listed on the BWSSB website. However, the number of houses needing these services will be huge once implementation starts. More plumbers need to be trained at a mass level. There also has to be a strong campaign to get people excited about the policy.


Currently, the city’s water demand is around 1500 MLD. The supply from Cauvery, Hesaraghatta and TG Halli is around 900 MLD. The Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal has also given a physical limit to how much Bangalore can access from Cauvery. On the other hand, rain water if captured can generate water equivalent to 3000 MLD, almost double the current demand. It can also reduce the massive problem of flooding in Bangalore to a great extent, say experts.


Depending on design, orientation and catchment area of the house, you could pay between Rs 8,000 and Rs 75,000 to set up the system.


Every owner or occupier who has constructed a building on a 2,400 sqft site and above for residential / non-residential/ government / commercial and any other purposes has to provide rain water harvesting structures within nine months from date of commencement of the amendment Act 2009. The area specified for new buildings is 1,200 sqft.


If you don’t have an RWH unit, your water and sanitary connections could be cut. However, there are rewards for installing one. After an assessment by the BWSSB in January 2010, five houses will be selected and rewarded Rs 10,000 each.


A recent public meeting in R T Nagar on RWH was quite helpful. We got most of our doubts cleared. Many of us plan to get into harvesting soon. More such awareness campaigns must be held. People wanting to go ahead should be guided.

T Vidyadhar, president, tri-ward federation of RWA


Rainwater Harvesting Mandatory In Existing And New Buildings


Water scarcity has topped the list of concerns for a long time. Bringing some respite to this water-starved city is the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage (Amendment) Bill 2009, which makes rainwater harvesting mandatory in buildings.

Bangalore - Rain water harvesting

Bangalore - Rain water harvesting

But there is no time to sit and think. Both new and old buildings, houses and apartments need to have the system in place within nine months. Existing houses of 2,400 sqft and more, plus all new ones of 1,200 sqft come under the mandatory umbrella.
This could mean a huge saving of potable drinking water from Cauvery and groundwater sources.
Unlike recycled sewage water that still hasn’t been able to break psychological barriers, rainwater can be easily used for washing, cleaning, bathing, flushing and other uses. Currently, there are nearly 7.5 lakh BWSSB connections, and 4,000 to 5,000 new connections have been given in the past year.

But only 12,000 connections have adapted rainwater harvesting as of now, according to BWSSB figures. A huge task lies ahead to ensure the rest get it fixed. If you happen to have buildings of the size specified in the Bill but don’t comply with regulations, BWSSB staff will come and fix the system at your house. The charges will be drawn along with your water bill.
“It costs between Rs 2,000 and Rs 5,000 to set up a rainwater harvesting system on
the roof. The cost varies, depending on the size of the house. If house owners fail to comply, then BWSSB, which is the monitoring body, will fix it. Within nine months, starting August, everything should be in place,” said A R Shiva Kumar, executive secretary, Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology
and principal investigator on rainwater harvesting.
An expert committee will be set up this week that will interpret the Act and spell out the regulation. “We will start with a campaign first. Architects, plumbers, masons and others involved will be trained. We will go door-to-door and talk to people about it. Notices about implementation will be given after that. A help desk will be set up by KSCST to address all doubts of citizens. In each layout, we will organize awareness programmes so that they get enough information and get ready within the stipulated time,” Kumar explained.

Rs 2,000 and Rs 5,000 to set up rainwater harvesting system on the roof
Cost varies, depending on size of the house Existing houses of 2,400 sqft and more, plus all new houses of 1,200 sqft come under the mandatory umbrella