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Checking salt ingress
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Legally armed
Cultivating temple tanks
Syndicate residency’s endeavour Optimising benefits


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Vol. 4   

No. 6

December 2002-January 2003

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Cultivating temple tanks

Legally armed

The President has recently approved the legal provisions introduced to the Chennai Metropolitan Area Groundwater (Regulation) Act, 1997 by the State Assembly. Consequently, the state government has issued two orders to be executed in and around Chennai. One, is mandatory installation of rainwater harvesting and waste water treatment systems within a year. Two, groundwater use for non potable or commercial purposes has been banned. Further, while granting groundwater licenses the views of locals will be considered.

The first violation of the orders will invite a fine of Rs 2,000 (earlier Rs 500) which will go up to Rs 5,000 (earlier Rs 1,000) if the offense is repeated. Rs 500 (earlier Rs 100) per day will be fined for further defiance. The enforceability is an issue that concerns many.
Source: T Ramakrishnan 2002, More curbs on groundwater use, The Hindu

Realising the pivotal role of temple tanks in maintaining city’s hydrological balance, Chennai Corporation took up the responsibility of restoring 38 tanks as rainwater reservoirs. With the assistance of local NGOs, the work has started for five tanks like, Kapaleeswarar tank in Mylapore and Marudeeshwarar tank in Thiruvanmiyur.

At Marudeeshwarar temple tank, the restoration plans also involve diverting the rooftop water from all the surrounding houses into the tank. Even the state Highways Department is gauging the feasibility of enriching the reservoir with the storm water drain network on the east coast road. Worthy plans. But can be executed only when encroachments are removed. And, here lies the acid test for the Corporation.

Besides, efforts are also being made at the community level. One such initiative was taken in Thirunindravur, about 40 kilometres from Chennai, to refurbish the tank of a century old lord Shiva’s temple. The local community has formed a trust to raise funds for desiltation and to raise the compound walls. It will check encroachments and the entry of waste water in the tank. Once operational the tank while meeting the daily needs of the temple will also improve the surrounding water tables.

After facing the heat of drought this year, both state and society are turning to their traditional wisdom for respite.

Syndicate residency's endeavour

Syndicate residential colony of six multi-storied buildings has installed rainwater harvesting system. It diverts rooftop runoff from an area of 4,800 sq m to either open wells or underground sump before passing it through a filtration bed. "About 9,36,000 litres of water was conserved during this (2002) monsoon. Residents water problem has been solved at such a low cost of Rs 60,000", shared D V Subramanian, a consultant, who gave designs to the colony. (vijayamani@vsnl.com, Tel: 4661743)

 


Optimising benefits

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Storm drain diverting water to pond

TVS Motor Company’s efforts to harness rainwater in two of their factories situated in Mysore and Hosur has made them water sufficient. As they have started amassing the liquid gold (water), the cost incurred on buying it has gone down to zero, thereby saving nearly Rs 20 lakhs annually.

The factory at Mysore covering an area of 180 acres has a sloppy terrain. Geophysical survey indicated the poor groundwater potential of the region. From the seven borewells drilled only one is presently operational, yielding 35,000 litres per day (l / day) - much below the requirement of eight lakh l / day. Further, a study revealed that even if they harvest 50 per cent of the annual 720 mm rainfall, the daily needs could be easily met.

The entire factory was landscaped in 1998. The runoff from the built up area ie, roofs (about 40,000 sq m) and roads were diverted to storm water drains. A pond of 15 lakh l storage capacity was built to collect surface and excessive runoff from the storm drains. In addition, recharge structures were introduced near the existing borewell. Contour trenches checked soil erosion while increasing the groundwater recharge rate. At an implementation cost of Rs 1.5 lakhs, the daily water availability has risen from 3,500 l per hour to 25,000 l per hour - meeting their present needs. To optimise their gains, TVS has prepared a detail water conservation plan.

As the TVS plant at Hosur started expanding, the water requirements also increased from 12 lakh l / day in 1996 to 16 lakh l / day in 1999. Due to overexploitation the yield (in terms of quantity and quality) of the borewells started depleting. The factory started buying water. To arrest this trend, rainwater harvesting (RWH) was initiated in 1999.

A hydrological study helped in delineating the favorable areas for groundwater recharge. A pond with a storing capacity of 12 lakh l was created to divert the runoff from surface and rooftops. Recharge structures near the existing borewells helped in replenishing the yields from 600 l / day to 3,600 l / day. Few shallow ponds were also dug in the complex covering an area of 289 acres. Nearly 50 per cent of the daily consumption is recycled and reused. Despite of receiving less than average annual rainfall for two consecutive years, the yield of borewells remains unaffected.

Regular staff briefings on RWH helped in spreading the message across.


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