Saving for a non-rainy day

rainwater harvesting, goregaon

Endless cups of masala-laden tea have been consumed, with deep-fried snacks as invariable partners in crime. Trigger happiness has exposed a million monsoon pictures across the board. And yes, all taxes have been filed and all investments have been duly made to make one a law-abiding citizen. rainwater harvesting, goregaon

After all these activities that occupy the first two months of the rainy season, we are still missing on something essential – actually reaping the benefits of the bountiful rainfall. We haven’t invested in rain-water harvesting systems for the future.

Rainwater Harvesting for Goregaon

We all thank the heavens for the continual showers that have are blessing the city, especially our greener areas of Goregaon east. But gratitude hasn’t made us wiser. Rain-water harvesting still remains an activity of least priority. As I  gazed and gazed at an unending cloudy sky, I wondered how many of us are actually opting for such environmental investment. I sought out Jayesh Parmar, CEO, Avion RO Systems, at his office at IB Patel Road and discussed the current situation as far as harvesting of precious rain water is concerned. Having installed such harvesting systems for over eight years in several residential projects in Mira Road, Dahisar and Kandivili, his insights were quite pertinent.

‘We have already had good rainfall of 1500 mm,’ says Parmar, ‘and we aren’t really doing anything as far as road, buildings, etc., go, to save the water that is being received as rainfall. As of now, the system is such that everything is literally going down the drains and back to the sea.” Other than in garden areas that are majorly soil features, the water table is unable to access and benefit from the rainfall so far. Thanks to solid concrete, RCC and paver blocks, there is no provision for the collection of rain water in our urban areas. Today, even at 100, 200 or 400 feet under the ground, there is no water available. Where one could easily access water at about 20 feet about ten to fifteen years ago, the situation is scarily different today.

So it is only via rooftops now, where we can seek to implement a solid system that can collect rain water directly, channel it into a pipe and then collect it in an underground tank. “The more this water goes into the soil, and into these collection tanks or wells, the more the water table will benefit and the more water can be saved for future use,’ Parmar. rainwater harvesting, goregaon

The collection of water is thus imperative. As 15 days ago, according to Parmar’s judgement, only 13 per cent of the rain water received so far has been saved. That computes a loss of almost 90 per cent. What we are so foolishly overlooking and underestimating is a crucial shortage of water, thanks to rapid construction and urbanisation within a span as short as the next five years. rainwater harvesting, goregaon

In cities like Chennai, Bengaluru and New Delhi rainwater harvesting is a part of the state policy. It is only over the last five-odd years that construction laws in Mumbai have made rain-water harvesting systems in upcoming buildings a compulsory component. Yet, it is common knowledge that this applies to a threadbare ratio, looking at the number of existing structures in the city. Goregaon east itself can count the number of newer constructions on the fingers of one hand only. And this handful is really not enough. Older buildings – residential, commercial, health and educational – need to retro-fit rain-water harvesting systems onto their rooftops. Parmar’s firm has retro-fitted systems in residential buildings in Upper Govind Nagar and in Andheri east.

Simple rationale –

The source of all water is rain. By catching the water where it falls, we are able to extend the fruits of the monsoon. First things first – this really isn’t astrophysics. Why educated folks like us, looking for smart homes, luxury residences, international schools and smart cities, can’t implement a simple mechanical system like this is baffling to the mind.

A small investment –

A rain-water harvesting system is a very cheap product. ‘It would hardly be a total cost of 1.5 to 2.5 lakhs, depending on the structural needs of the building,’ Parmar estimates. Despite the dividends that such an investment will ensure, almost nobody seems interested in it.

The amount of water that can be harvested is a whopping 80 per cent. One keeps a consideration of 20 per cent for outflow and wastage. Yet, the pros far outshine the cons. If one considers underground ring wells as storage of the water, one is looking at saving lakhs of litres. If one looks at having it re-enter the ground and accumulate in the natural water table, it’s an unlimited capacity of storage. With respect to the latter, we at Goregaon east are comparatively lucky, what with the natural environs of Aarey, that are still largely untouched by concrete. Yet, one can’t just relax on the couch of such comfort. We need to do more. And that too just once.

After having fitted a good rain-water harvesting system, all that one needs to follow up as maintenance is to keep the rooftop inlet free from any blockage due to leaves, twigs or any such obstructions. A simple check, that’s all. This keeps the entire system running strong for a minimum of ten years, if not more. rainwater harvesting, goregaon

We all learnt and retold the fable of the crow whose ingenuity allowed him to quench his thirst. He didn’t woe his fate, give up or complain. He used his mind and got down to doing something constructive that led him to an advantage. The common crow’s common sense needs to be used as inspiration by us to lead us to positions of advantage. The adage ‘Save for a rainy day’ won’t hold water for too long. We need to start saving for the non-rainy day now.

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