Sunday, April 08, 2007

Water problems?

The fact that water is even being debated as a commodity or a human right itself scares me... and to know in the next 50 years we'll have to desalinate sea water because fresh water supply will get thinner and thinner is scarier still....

Why are we getting so unconcious of what is right or wrong?
Is everybody deliberately using up water resources?
Are we all over using water?

I am still learning and dont have all the answers yet but spreading awareness is something I must do.

Did you know that Rain water is one of the purest form of water you could have? (that's only in the case you dont live in an industrial area)

Did you know that for a 1000 sqft roof top area, or 100 square meter roof top, (which is the area of the roof of a small 30x40 house in bangalore) in bangalore you could harvest as much as 90,000 litres of water in a year?
And this is 1/3rd of the water a family of 4-5 would need in a year?

If all of us began harvesting rain water it would ease off the pressure on the rivers that are being fought for.

The method to use Rain water is so simple, its unbelievable. All you need to do is slope all the water on your terrace in one direction and collect it into this tank (either made from ferro-cement or a small PVC tank would do), let the water filter through natural materials like thin fabric, sand and coal, and let it all go into the underground sump you have for water storage!

All overflow could simply go into a well (about 2.5-3 feet dia and 20 feet deep) and that would help keep the ground water level good. The sub-soil water level is important as the surface water supply is soon running dry.

Sometimes we are too selfish and careless and if the carelessness continues it could cost us a lot. Dont cement all sides of the property...leave ground/earth in places so that water can seep into the earth below.

Check out this image

The technique is so simple that everyone can do it. There exist a lot of misnomers about RWH and I simply wanted to change them.

Alas if all apartments and large buildings alongwith all the many residences that are mushrooming all over the city began to store water from the rain... there would be less fights over rivers in time!

If you want to know what to do Mr.Vishwanath and team are willing to teach you and guide you for free. Anyone is welcome to go visit and see the techinques they're using for the same in their house.

I just hope more people begin harvesting rain water and become a little more careful in the way they use water and other resources without making it a burden for themselves.

If you do not know what to do please contact them on
S. Vishwanath,
264, 6th Main, 6th Block, B.E.L. Layout
Vidyaranyapura, Bangalore - 560 097 India
Phone: 91-80-23641690, 41672790


Manu Sharma said...

Excellent post, Lavannya. It must come as a surprise to many people how little there is to it. I was surprised too when I learnt about it. I think the media is partly to blame, they use buzzwords without explaining them and people get the impression that this is something complex or high-tech. Wikipedia has a good overview on Rainwater Harvesting.

We don't have a RWH system in place in our current house (bought as a built-up property) but the lawns do allow the water to seep into the ground and the drainage is quite good (though I think I should find out where the water goes eventually). Also, the company that built the colony does have provisions for RWH in all new construction, which is some consolance.

That said, RWH is definitely going to be part of the deal whenever we "redesign" the house (I'm always fantasising about that). Another feature I'm excited about is grey-water and waste recycling using a "worm farm". There's this company in Australia that specialises in that. Basically in such a system grey water and waste is diverted from the sewer to a septic tank in which earthworms do their business converting the waste into highly effective liquid manure which is pumped out and disposed off in garden or in the sewer if you wish. The best part is, the whole thing is entirely odorless. You can even throw your (organic) trash in it and it will take household soap/detergents too.

There's so much one can do about living sustainably if only one is interested. I'm sure I don't need to tell you about passive cooling, passive heating and all those techniques to reduce energy consumption. You're lucky to be in a profession where you can make a difference. There was an event recently for architects, on climate change and how it relates to your business. The webcast which is available as archive was broadcast to thousands of architecture schools across the US and several parts of the world. Slightly long but a must see.

In case that topic interests you, I run a Google group on climate change and sustainable living called Green India, you are welcome to join.

REFLEX said...

There was a rule made in TN that every house has to be equipped with RWH system. It is implemented also.

Now in Pune, all the new constructions should hav this to get clearance from municipal authority.