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.


Madurai: Water flow into Vaigai increases

Collector asks people living on the banks of the river to move to safer places

MADURAI: Collector N. Mathivanan has appealed to the public, who lived along the river banks, to move to safer places following rise in water flow into the Vaigai since Saturday night.

Continuous rain had resulted in rise in storage levels in Vaigai and Periyar dams. As a precautionary measure, Public Works Department officials discharged 3,000 cusecs from the Vaigai reservoir into the river, while 1,800 cusecs of water was released for irrigation into the Periyar Main Canal and provided another 80 cusecs for drinking water purpose.

great: The Vaigai is brimming with water thanks to heavy rain in catchment areas. — file Photo

According to a press release, Mr. Mathivanan held a review meeting with PWD engineers and revenue officials on the need for effective management of people and movement of materials to the needy in the wake of continuous rain. Utilising the rain, it was decided to ensure that all tanks in the district were filled. Apart from the RDO Usilampatti and Madurai, all tahsildars in the district have been instructed to get in touch with the PWD officials and coordinate in handling the situation. The corporation authorities made announcements through mobile public address system on the banks of the Vaigai on Sunday cautioning the people to move away to safer places. The cattle belonging to them should also be removed from the river side.

The sea-weeds on the river were removed on a war-footing after Union Minister M.K. Alagiri inspected the causeways adjoining the Arapalayam-Simakkal-Sellur areas two days ago.

With continuous rain, the flow into the Vaigai dam is likely to increase, which means, the discharge into the river would rise further in the next 24 hours, officials said.

Mr. Mathivanan visited Vaigai dam on Sunday for an on-the-spot inspection, an official said.


Tuticorin: In deep waters

Spoilsport: Rainwater stagnating in salt pans causing fall in production in Tuticorin. — Photo: N. Rajesh


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.


Bangalore: Saving water in small measures

BANGALORE: Bangalore is taking small steps to meet water shortage. With rainwater harvesting becoming mandatory, a few more small measures are being taken. Three ground level reservoirs (GLR) were inaugurated on Wednesday. This was part of 10 GLRs planned in the city by 2010 to meet the water needs of 1.5 lakh families.

BWSSB in-charge minister Katta Subramanya Naidu inaugurated a GLR in Nagarbhavi with 5 million litres (ML) capacity at Rs 324 lakh, in Dasarahalli with 9 ML at Rs 395.25 lakh and in Srigandha Kaval with 7.5 ML at Rs 431.60 lakh.

The remaining seven GLRs will be built in Govindarajapuram (9 ML), Annapurneshwarinagar (5 ML), Nandini Layout (9 ML), Byatrayanpura (9 ML), K R Puram (9 ML), Mahadevpura (9 ML) and R T Nagar (5 ML).

Naidu said the GLRs will support water supply once the Cauvery 4th stage, 2nd phase is ready. The price of non-potable water may dip by Rs 6. Currently, it costs Rs 18 per kilo litre. Fielding stations for non-potable water will also come up at 20 places.


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