In last 20 years, Bengaluru-resident A R Shivakumar has not spent a penny to meet the water needs of his family. The family harvests rainwater and collects it in underground and overhead tanks.
Shivakumar, currently, is the principal investigator for rainwater harvesting (RWH) at the Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology (KSCST).
WittyFeed looks how the rain man has made it possible.
Majority of us living in metro cities and posh towns do not have to walk miles to fetch water or schedule our bathroom needs and everyday chores according to the availability of water as it is available to us, 24/7! But as a young kid, Shivakumar and his sister would have to wake up at the dawn and walk miles to fetch water.
Shivakumar believes that there are basically 4 things needed to live in a house: energy, good comfort living, air and water. And he was keen on believing that all these needs could be met by mother nature and no external sources were needed. The picture shows a young Shivakumar, 19 years ago, standing on the terrace of his house with a solar heater he made himself.
"to have a house, where nature would fulfill our needs for light, ventilation and water. We read studies conducted by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and realized that rainwater harvesting was the answer to our water requirements. Even the construction of our house was done, using harvested rainwater," Shivakumar states.
He further says, their needs are met by water harvested during the rains and collected in an underground tank, as well as overhead tanks. He has regulated varied training, workshops and awareness programmes on Rain Water Harvesting. His dedication towards water conservation was the basis for the establishment of the 'Sir M Visvesvaraya Rainwater Harvesting Theme Park' – the unimitable and first-of-its-kind in the country, situated in Jayanagar, Bengaluru.
Reckon seeing such constructions in old and historic monuments? He has adopted the same method to keep his house naturally cooled and lightened up.
Shivakumar says, "your house should give you a return on your investment," his wife, Suma Shivakumar says, "He managed to build their house for Rs 400 per square feet when the norm was Rs 600 per square feet in 1994,". Shivakumar has not had the need to pay a single penny to the corporation for water in Bengaluru, in the last 19 years.
He has created a process to harvest and store rainwater. The rainwater that falls on the roof is guided to a 4,500-liter tank, constructed on the ground floor of his house. The surplus rainwater is channelled and allowed to seep into the ground, via a system of percolation tanks. This system comprises four interconnected plastic drums that are placed underground, their bases are cut open so that the groundwater can be recharged.
With Hesaraghatta lake (a manmade reservoir) and Tippegondahanally reservoir, in Bengaluru drying up, the entire urban and rural population had to depend on the Cauvery waters. The state of Karnataka can draw in 682.5 million liters of water a day from the Cauvery waters, which is also shared with Tamil Nadu. But this does not suffice the requirement for Bangalore (urban and rural) that is 1,400 million liters per day or 18 thousand million cubic feet (TMC). Ergo, resorting to rain water harvesting can turn out to be a huge success here.
This process and initiatives are not baseless. In fact, they're supported by strong researchers, statistics and facts.
He sat and calculated the water needs and consumption of an average family by examining the water bills of residents in the locality. He figured out that it matched WHO norms - a family for four approximately uses 500 liters of water in a day, which would lead to the consumption of 1.825 lakh liters of water per year.
Shivakumar further, scrutinized the rainfall data of his 40X60 plot for the last 100 years.
"To my surprise, I found we were getting 2-2.5 lakh liter\s consistently in the last 100 years," he said. The plot got 2 lakh litres even in the worst year of rainfall. There is one catch: It rains 60-70 days in a year but the water should last for 365 days." Shivakumar analyzed, the longest gap between two consecutive good rains were between 90-100 days. "Within three months, there's a good rain in Bangalore," he said, "and if you take the daily consumption of a family, it is almost 400 liters of water per day and multiplied by 100, you need storage of 40,000 liters to meet the times when there is no rain."
Here at WittyFeed, we aim at spreading awareness about water scarcity and what can be done to save water. It's time we all start doing our parts and also start making others around us conscious about this issue. One small step by you, a great help for the future generation.
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