– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces
In a land-locked city like Pune, the value of water is inescapable. Factors such as climactic changes happening at a national and global level are causing water levels to fall. Overpopulation has resulted in more and more acquisition and development of land – and, even worse, for landfills, cutting back on water bodies that were once available and accessible.
Deforestation has further compounded the deficiency of water, as this causes regional rain to eventually become unpredictable. Several areas are critically affected by a dearth of usable water – a city like Pune is, actually, a prime example of the happening throughout India.
More and more of the world’s burgeoning populations will be moving to urban areas in the years to come. As a result of accelerated property development in our cities, the greatest requirement for critical resources such as water is focused in urban areas. As a consequence, multistory residential complexes are being constructed at an extremely rapid speed.
The earth’s surface is 70% water; yet, very little of this is actually usable or drinkable by humans. It is very likely that we will shortly reach a stage when the quantity of useable water present on the earth’s surface isn’t sufficient to satisfy all of the requirements of the development occurring to accommodate the growing population.
Rainwater harvesting is the solitary realistic option to counter the growing menace of rapid water depletion – and this real and present option is definitely catching on in our cities. Rainwater harvesting involves accumulating, filtering and storing rainwater to be utilized for assorted industrial and residential purposes.
Rainwater is a clean, free source of potable water. Rainwater harvesting used in residential properties, which involves trapping rainwater from roofs and directing it into underground storage tanks or cisterns, can satisfy 50% of a regular family’s water needs.
The truth is, rainwater harvesting isn’t just a strategy to make maximum use of the natural resource – it also has minimal environmental impact. Naturally, it leads to substantial price savings on recurring water charges in residential buildings. In a city like Pune, a huge number of residential societies are dependent on expensive water tankers which extract ‘hard’ water from borewells – a process which further depletes ground water levels and causes all kinds of associated problems to the environment.
Urban water supply calls for pumping stations in addition to putting up treatment plants and supply conduits. With the rate of increase in urban population, city planning authorities cannot match utilities in the majority of Indian cities. Engineers and geologists are constantly fighting to discover new sources of water.
With borewell shafts going deeper as the hunt for more water continues in cities like Pune, water supply can actually be significantly supplemented by rainwater and decrease the pressure on the usual water supply.
When rainwater is harnessed in a housing complex, it can be utilized for assorted non-drinking functions that call for substantial volumes of water. Because rainwater can complement the traditional water supply system, this means considerably reduced utility bills.
Rainwater harvesting is equally appropriate for large manufacturing units that use up substantial amounts of water. Such industries can reduce the pressure on groundwater by making use of rainwater for all their requirements.
A perfect fallback position
Climate change has caused significant disruptions in the weather patterns in lots of Indian cities, resulting is decreased rainfall. Rainwater can be collected, stored and used during drought seasons to complement the ordinary water supply. In cities like Mumbai and Pune, the dreaded bane of rationing and water shortage is mitigated with rainwater harvesting, which also reduces the dependence on dams and water reservoirs.
When rainwater harvesting systems are used by a sufficient saturation of residential buildings in a city, there is a substantial drop in pressure on drainage systems, thereby reducing the possibility of floods, soil erosion, and surface run-offs. Rainwater harvesting is a perfect solution especially in low-lying regions, which are usually prone to floods due to over-taxed drainage systems.
The use of rainwater harvesting systems allows groundwater levels to recharge, which in turn aids in enhancing urban greenery; in fact, this is actually the sole dependable means of having green places without leeching away from the direly needed water supplies within urban areas.
Simple to set up and use
Rainwater harvesting systems are simple to put up and operate. There is absolutely no requirement for the complicated purifying systems which need to be applied to cleanse groundwater, since rainwater is pure. Rainwater collection systems use modern yet extremely simple technology, and their care simply involves occasional cleaning of pipes and the storage tanks to ensure the rainwater gathered is not contaminated.
Actually, rainwater harvesting can be used by anyone. Installation of gutters is step one for buildings that lack them, together with a filtration system to make certain that any other sort of debris or leaves will not find their way into the storage tanks. Safety precautions include having locking bars or lids to stop the breeding of mosquitoes or other forms of pollution of the stored water. Catchment areas in a city may comprise paved regions for example roads and car parks, where water may be picked for several non-drinking purposes.
Need for more government support
Most of the municipality areas of cities like Pune have a huge number of housing projects which don’t have the required rainwater pits. In quite a few cases, the lack of space and the overall design of the project may not make rainwater harvesting pits feasible at all – but where it is possible, no effort should be spared to create them and put rainwater harvesting systems in place. New apartment projects must, of course, be engineered from the world ‘go’ to incorporate rainwater harvesting systems.
While all such measures have been implemented in the more progressive PCMC (Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation) of Pune, the speed at which the Pune Municipal Corporation is moving on this front leaves a lot to be desired. Rainwater harvesting is a standard feature in PCMC’s large integrated townships.
As rain is becoming noticeably scantier, the government has already begun undertaking measures to encourage residential societies, educational institutions, and similar buildings to optimize water use and exercise better principles of water economy.
The rapid, yet necessary proliferation of paved areas and roads in our cities is preventing the proper percolation of rainwater into the ground, and causing water bottlenecks on the outskirts. Establishing regularly spaced rainwater harvesting pits in urban localities is definitely the way to go, and must be implemented in cities like Pune without further delay. Additionally, the city authorities must put in greater efforts to educate citizens about the benefits and implementation of rainwater harvesting.
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