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Inspiring others
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Vol. 4                                      No. 1                          February 2002

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Most Wanted

Three final year civil engineering students – Lakshmi Narayanan, Shweta and Uma Maheshwari from Anna University, Chennai are successfully harvesting rain since August 8, 2001. Their initiatives have also inspired ten other students to join the group of most wanted.

It all started when R Jeyakumar, a builder and rainwater harvesting consultant approached Lakshmi, who has already worked with him as an intern with a project proposal. These three students decided to utilise this invaluable opportunity. In three months, despsite of strict academic schedule they completed 15 projects. Metrowater and the rainwater harvesting cell of Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board are encouraging them by giving them the projects.

They use simple methods to catch rain, while also trying to fully utilise the existing facilities. As Lakshmi explains, “First we look for existing facilities like pipes, wells, sumps and tanks. Then we draw up the plan with Jeyakumar’s guidance.” Following this principle, a 15 years old septic tank was converted into a rainwater storage tank in Thomas Nagar. Three pipes from the terrace are connected to a filter tank filled with pebbles, sand, charcoal and layered with netlon mats and a bucket — thus, cutting the cost. They do significantly realise that there is no one model for all the projects. They can bet on every project and we can bet that Chennai is going to have watery days ahead.

For further information:
Lakshmi Narayanan
Anna University, Chennai
Mobile: 9840142482

Inspiring others

Rainwater harvesting is becoming popular in Chennai. The pro-active attitude of the government has improved the rate of implementation of rainwater harvesting structures in the city.

On February 2 - 4, a four member European delegation headed by Hans Hartung, consulant, FAKT, a Germany-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) visited Chennai, as a part of their tour to India to know more about rainwater harvesting. The delegation

comprised of Christen Wilhem, GEP; Leo Prakash, rainwater harvesting facilitator from Germany and Williem P Boelhouwer, Aqua Sure, Netherlands. This two-day tour was organised by a renowned rainwater harvesting consultant, R Jeyakumar. The delegation

visited the rainwater harvesting structures as implemented by individuals, NGOs and government agencies.

Rainwater harvesting system with a treatment unit in Ramani’s house attracted all of them. Boelhouwer was particularly impressed, as his company has also devised a unit for purifying rainwater. Groundwater recharging techniques adopted in individual residences, residential colonies, temple, highways offered a good learning experience for these experts who are working on the storage and reuse related aspects of rainwater.

The envoy also met the government agencies involved in propagating rainwater harvesting in Chennai. During the discussions it was revealed that since 1994, in Chennai city rainwater harvesting has been done in over 400 schools, 216 buildings and 56 parks owned by the corporation. (see box: Facilitators) This is over and above the projects implemented at the individual level.

The European delegates shared their experiences in rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling. Hans Hartung suggested to develop a model house with both the rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling systems installed.

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Shekhar Raghavan explaining the community-led efforts to the delegation

Christian Wilhelm discussed the experiences from German project on rainwater management of a model block in Beijing and some of the standard technologies used in this project. The discussion was centred on dry and wet sanitation, mechanical filters and concepts for the future. The delegation appreciated the enthusiasm shown by the government and the community for harvesting rain.

At the end of the day, there were two delighted groups full of experiences to work together for the common goal of making water every body’s business.

Facilitators

dot.gif (88 bytes) In 1983, the legislation regulating the private groundwater extraction for purposes other than agriculture and domestic needs came into being
dot.gif (88 bytes) In 1994, rainwater harvesting was made mandatory in all G + 3 buildings of Chennai
dot.gif (88 bytes) In 2001, as per the government order all new buildings, when demanding a water or sewer connection should have a rainwater harvesting system in place


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