Rainwater harvesting systems, albeit the need of the hour, can be an overwhelming task to undertake. For some, the rainwater harvesting might prove to be unaffordable while others have their hands tied because they live in rented houses or flats that cannot have such independent systems.
At the backdrop of the exhausting droughts in Chennai, hundreds of residents are taking up the cause of rainwater harvesting. While some have already saved enough water for six months’ consumption, others are working night and day to restore groundwater levels in their districts.
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One among these water conservators is Dayanand Krishnan, a 45-year-old man from Chennai who has added a cheap DIY innovation in rainwater harvesting that helped him save over 200 litres of water in just 10 minutes!
The entire system cost Krishnan only Rs 250.
Speaking to The Better India (TBI), the innovator said that the sudden spell of a shower that eased the scorching heat in Chennai brought him face to face with another issue.
“Thousands of litres of water was going to waste even as Tamil Nadu is struggling with severe water shortage. That was my cue to do something in my personal capacity to save this fresh water,” he said.
Krishnan, an engineer, says that his system requires no plumbers or experts to be set. It can be done at home by anyone.
Already in possession of a drum at home, Krishnan only had to buy a three-feet PVC pipe, two pipe bends and a cloth filter. His terrace, spreading over 400 square feet, was the collection point to which the pipes were attached. The other end of the pipe was directed to the drum, secured with the cloth filter.
“Every terrace and most balconies have an exit pipe attached to them that directs the water out. My trick was only to secure the end of these pipes and get them to collect water in the drums. I put a cloth filter for obvious reasons. When Chennai welcomed the heavy rainfalls on 26 June, the rainwater harvesting system did its job,” he smiles.
Krishnan was on his way back from his office when the rains started. Excited about whether the DIY water harvesting system was working, he rang up his wife for an update.
She told me that the water is getting stored in the drum. For the first five minutes since the rain began, the pipe was directed to the garden to avoid the impurities from the terrace getting stored in the drum. Then we let the pipe rest in the storage drum.
Within 10 minutes, we had collected 225 litres of water! Enough for the following 2-3 days,” he tells TBI.
The area that Krishnan lives in receives municipal water once a week. He tells us that if one is not careful with storage, the water does not last for more than four days. Krishnan’s storage system, however, will allow a family of three members to take care of their daily needs such as washing clothes and utensils, mopping floors and also for flushing. Drinking and cooking consume just about 20 per cent of our daily water needs in any case. The majority of the water needs are for daily chores.
“We purchase water tankers for about Rs 1500 and considering the situation Chennai is in, the tanker arrives a couple of days after we’ve ordered it,” says the 45-year-old. “With my rainwater harvesting system, I can take care of most of my water needs for 2-3 days following rainfall. If you need more water, add another drum to the system. It’s as simple as that.”
The system is equally good for flats and independent houses, for small families and big. Following Krishnan’s example, a few of his friends have also replicated the model, and it is working equally well for all of them.
Krishnan’s rainwater harvesting system requires:
- A water storage drum (but if you wish, you can collect the water directly in the underground sump too)
- PVC pipes of enough length from your collection point (usually terrace or open balconies since they have a large surface area) to the desired drum/sump
- Pipe bends to join the PVC pipes at corners
- A cloth filter to eliminate impurities.
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All you have to do is connect the terrace/balcony water exit pipes with PVC pipes and direct them to the sump or drums. Please note that depending upon the distance between your collection point to the drum, you may incur more or less expenses than Krishnan. A plumber is not required to attach the system but its best to get an expert’s guidance, so the water flows smoothly.
You can contact Krishnan for further details or guidance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture and Video Courtesy: Dayanand Krishnan
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)