The Tamilnadu Water Supply and Drainage Board and Anna University has prepared
recharge maps for 365 blocks of the state. With these maps the demand, availability and
potential of recharging water could be easily calculated. These maps empowers the
administration to reinforce the water supply by-laws - making rainwater harvesting
Bank loans for RWH
The Kancipuram co-operative bank, Tamil Nadu, is offering loans for rainwater
harvesting (RWH). Introduced for the first time in India, Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 for
individual houses and, Rs 50,000 for multistory complexes are given at 14 per cent
interest. The repayment period varies from one to three years. The eligibility criteria
requires the ownership of a house with a open well or borewell. Inaugurated on November
15, this scheme is a positive step.
Harvesting in Nilgris
To check the persisting water problem, Supriya Sahu, collector, Nilgiri
district, Tamil Nadu, has developed a three pronged strategy. Its purpose is to popularise
and implement rainwater harvesting (RWH) in the region. It focuses on:
- Awareness generation among the local community,
- Dissemination of information (In Tamilnadu Water Supply and Drainage Board's
office an information desk has been opened),
- Convergence of various schemes to be implemented by the district administration
for pooling in resources to adopt rwh extensively.
While addressing a seminar on rwh organised by the state's Rotary Club, Sahu
said, "To begin with RWH is being installed in the collector's office and then 806
systems will be introduced in 200 state offices in the district. In each of the six blocks
in Nilgris, one model village will be developed to popularise the concept in rural
areas." A task force has been formed to ensure implementation. A technical manual on
RWH for hilly areas has also been prepared.
The Vengaivasal model
The farmers of a small village, Vengaivasal, about 15 km from Chennai, Tamil
Nadu, have taken up the responsibility of conserving tanks and lakes. These farmers are
the ayacut (command) users.
Periyeri and Sitteri, the two local lakes, have a spread of about 135 acres, an
ayacut of about 150 hectares is collectively shared by 150 paddy cultivators. They have
formed a registered association. The annual subscription collected from the members is
used for the maintenance of these tanks. The Public Works Department (PWD) is already
working on the plan of improving 58 tanks in the Cheenai region, as a part of the World
Bank's Water Resources Consolidation Project. For effective execution of the works,
several confidence building measures like, allowing the sale of earth that is removed
during desiltation, have been taken by the administration.
Source: Ramachandran 2002, Vengaivasal, a model for conserving water
resources, The Hindu
'Water wisdom' in schools
Two schools in Chennai have taken unique initiatives in water conservation. The
E S Memorial Matriculation School in Sholinganallur, is reusing the recycled wastewater.
And, Lady Willingdon Higher Secondary School, Royapetah, is catching rain for
E S Memorial Matriculation School
"As the school is located beyond the Chennai Corporation limits, we had to
do something with the 30 cubic metre of wastewater that is daily generated. The treatment
plant designed by the Centre for Environmental Studies, Anna University, is a boon to
us,"noted the principal Sakunthala Sharma.
Wastewater from kitchen, bathroom and toilets undergoes the root zone treatment
(RZT) and is then re-used for irrigating school's farm, where vegetables and paddy is
grown (within their compound).
In RZT, the wastewater before reaching the reed bed is passed through a series
of settling chambers, containing coarse sand, gravel and blue metal to remove the
suspended matters. The reed bed in the school is 1,000 sq m, which essentially consists of
a specially prepared soil bed with an impermeable base. These reeds have thick roots
called rhizomes that make the sand bed congenial for micro-organisms to grow and cleanse
the water for reuse. In this manner 90 per cent of the wastewater is recovered.
"Although the total implementation cost amounted to Rs 15 lakhs, the
maintenance cost is negligble," informs Sharma. The school now easily meets its daily
Lady Willingdon Higher Sec School
The school is located near Marina Beach, with a total student strength of about
2,500. The Chennai Metrowater Board has developed this school as a model project. The
water works in Lady Willingdon were completed in October 2001.
During the implementation phase, students were actively invloved at all the
levels, giving them a good understanding of the rainwater harvesting technique. The senior
students also helped in digging trenches for the rainwater to flow. There are 13
percolation pits in the campus that are supervised by students.
"Earlier rainwater used to stagnate on the school grounds. Now it
percolates and the grounds are not slushy. This technique will improve the groundwater
quality, while restricting seawater intrusion," says the school's National Social
Service coordinator, Samadhanam.