Water Harvesting | Centre for Science and Environment

Water Harvesting


If only cities can see wetlands

Sixty People died in a building collapse in Chennai last fortnight. There is much more than the municipal incompetence that needs to be fixed to avoid such tragic incidents. This building was located on Porur lake, a water body that provides services like groundwater recharge and flood management to an otherwise water-starved city. If you care to ask the obvious question how construction was permitted on the wetland, you will get a not-so-obvious response. Wetlands are rarely recorded under municipal land laws, so nobody knows about them.

Make India drought-proof

METEOROLOGISTS ARE still not sure of the timing and intensity of El Niño. But it is clear that this monsoon will not be normal and there is a serious possibility that some parts of the country will be hit by drought and crop failure. The question is why we remain so unprepared to deal with crippling water shortages year after year. Why have all our efforts to drought-proof India failed? What should we do now?

A monsoon warning

As I write this my city Delhi is drowning. It started raining early this morning and within a few hours the city has come to a standstill. The television is showing scenes of traffic snarled up for hours, roads waterlogged and people and vehicles sunk deep in water and muck. The meteorological department records that some 60 mm of rain has fallen in just about 6 hours; 90 mm in 24 hours; and with this the city has made up for its deficit of rainfall this season. In other words, in just about 24 hours Delhi and its surrounding areas got half as much rain as they would in the entire month of September. Delhi, like all growing cities of India, is mindless about drainage. Storm water drains are either clogged or do not exist. Our lakes and ponds have been eaten away by real estate. Land is what the city values, not water. So when it rains more than it should the city drowns.

From where our food will come

Vijay Jawandhia is a farmer in Vidarbha, the region which brought home to us the crisis that is compelling farmers to kill themselves. He is also a leader of farmers. Recently, he spoke of new challenges: "In my village we are hiring vehicles and bringing people from cities to work in the field." Sounds bizarre but news stories from across farming regions suggest a similar trend.
 

Jal Yodhyas

Instead of relying on others for solving his water problem, Ashutosh Agnihotri, an enterprising resident of Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, took up the responsibility himself. In June 2001, while constructing his house, Agnihotri decided to build an underground tank to store rainwater, instead of levelling the ground. The runoff from the roof is diverted through PVC pipes to a 35,000 litres tank. Today, when his neighbours are feeling the stress due to meagre rains, he feels investing Rs 15,000 in installing the system was worth it.

Water Harvesters

 
Ashutosh Agnihotri

The Rain Catchers

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