I am out on a trip and have left behind my beloved Bombay. After having visited Kerala (which is picturesque to say the least), I have landed in MADras, or Chennai as is popularly known. Good relatives make for great company, and an even more lovely stay. The locality is a sea of green with fruits weighing down many of the trees. Mangoes are the flavour of the area with the mango trees being one in five. And all this let me remind you is in Madras – a city known for its water problems (Yes Nattu, you can cane me later!)
This success has been thanks to a wonderful initiative by the AIADMK Government. A very simple technique as seen here has been used to improve the ground water level in and around the region. The ample vegetation resulting is a clear indication of the success. This, mind you, is despite just 1% of the entire Chennai region being under the plan.
Rainwater harvesting in itself is not new to India. Rajasthan has seen adoption, and the Akash Ganga project carried out is a success story. But these projects need to implemented at a far greater level than what is being done now.
India is urbanizing at a mind-boggling rate. Mumbai’s population grew by 50% only on account of immigrants in the last decade. Water problems are already beginning to plague the new housing projects that are being started in the region. To cite an instance, my own house is beginning to suffer thanks to the spate of housing projects in my area. The water pressure is a fraction of what it used to be, and water cuts are frequent – up from nonexistent levels a few years ago.
Rainwater harvesting has many benefits and is implementable at really low costs. It can be as low as 65000 for a society of 12 and this is a one time cost at that. Resultant vegetation and air purity are natural outcomes along with the major benefit of some water security.
There have been reports of compulsory rainwater harvesting infrastructure in new buildings in Madras. Maybe its time Bombay looks at this as well