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Indukanth Ragade
Indukanth Ragade, who is an organic chemist, has taken a lead in executing rainwater harvesting and wastewater management projects in Chennai. As the vice chairperson of Alacrity Foundations Private Limited, he started introducing rainwater harvesting in all its projects from 1993 itself. So far the company has introduced rainwater harvesting in over 150 projects comprising over 4500 flats. By optimally combining the technique of rainwater harvesting (RWH) with wastewater treatment and reuse, Alacrity Foundation, Chennai-based flat promoters, has found an answer to the problem of water scarcity. The proper application of this technique can reduce dependence on external sources.

According to Alacrity's calculations, RWH alone has the potential of meeting about 30 - 40 per cent of the flat complex's annual water needs. This can be further increased to 60 per cent by reusing wastewater after in situ treatment. The wastewater is of three kinds:

  • About 30 - 40 per cent of wastewater is from closets for flushing, and cannot be reused;
  • About ten per cent of wastewater comes from kitchens. It is not reused, as the level of nutrients is high;
  • Only the water used for bathing and washing clothes can be treated and reused for toilet flushing or groundwater recharge. It constitutes 50 - 60 per cent of the total consumption. For recharging the groundwater, the wastewater is diverted towards a specially prepared soil bed, in which semi-aquatic plants are grown. If the water is to be recycled, then the bottom of the bed is made permeable to prevent percolation.

From each complex a network of three different pipes separate wastewater at the initial stage itself. Such projects require moderate capital investment as well as minimal maintenance. In the 12 localities of Chennai where Alacrity has worked - the system has been operating smoothly. One of them is in Tambaram, an 80-flat apartment, where the system is now three years old. Here, the quality of drinking water has remained stable and a dry bore well has begun yielding. The system operates on the principle of gravity with no related problems of chemicals, smell or mosquito breeding.

In many towns, traditional dug wells are being abandoned due to contamination of the water by faecal matter from septic tanks. The Alacrity system can avoid such contamination, while reviving the usage of water from the shallow depths.

For details:

Alacrity foundation
25, Thirumalai Pillai Road,
T Nagar, Chennai 600 017
Tel: 044-28251771 Fax: 044-28259406

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M Mohan Rao
"Akash paani rokenga, patal paani badhayenge" (We will harvest the rainwater and recharge the groundwater). This was the message given by M Mohan Rao, district collector of Dewas, Madhya Pradesh, while inaugurating the Bhoojal Samvardhan Mission, Dewas, on May 28, 1999. First of its kind, the scheme solved the acute water crisis which has plagued the entire region for the past 10 years.

Unlike many other bureaucrats, he believed, "No movement can succeed unless people are involved in it. They have understood the problem and the solution can only come from them. It will not come from the government". It was a challenge for Rao to get public support for what he was planning. But he never gave up. Rao himself went to the villagers and discussed how best the people can harness rainwater. After discussing the issues, various techniques, such as the injection method, were developed and included as a part of the mission to recharge deep dry tube wells. His calculations showed that "Even if 1,000 houses of an area of 1,500 square feet each harness rainwater, it would be enough to recharge all tube wells". The people responded. They actively participated by contributing both in cash and kind. And, the levels of groundwater rose as collaboration intensified.

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R. Jeyakumar
A builder by profession, Jeyakumar influenced the local authorities to incorporate and strictly implement rainwater harvesting as a condition in building byelaws and appealed to his fellow builders to take the provision seriously. As a result of his initiatives, rainwater harvesting has been taken up in a big way in residential and commercial constructions throughout Chennai. The model system that he developed for special buildings has received the first prize in a contest organised by Chennai Metro Water Board. It has been approved and included by the Board in its rainwater harvesting guidebook.

For details:

Rajparis Civil Constructions Limited
Raj Court, 162 B, Greams lane, Thousand Lights,
Chennai 600 006
Tel: 044-28290038, 28290566
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S Vishwanath
Vishwanath has designed and implemented several rooftop water harvesting structures in Karnataka for residences, institutions and industries. He is an active member of the Rainwater Club, which has been disseminating information on rainwater harvesting in Bangalore since 1995. He has also worked for the report 'Conceptual framework for rainwater harvesting for Bangalore city'. He also has developed a filter, named VARUN, for purifying rainwater

For details:

Rainwater Club
264, 6th Block, BEL Layout,
Banglore 560 097
Tel: 080-28381690 / 28382435
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