Scorching summers and an acute shortage of water go hand in hand in many cities. Every summer, water woes make urban residents spend lakhs of rupees on tankers.
One housing society in Pune decided to bring about a change and utilise rainwater to meet its water needs and emerged successful.
Roseland Residency in Pune’s suburb Pimple Saudagar has been implementing Rainwater Harvesting successfully for the past decade and has never had to buy a single tanker since.
“We were tired of facing a constant shortage of water in summers. Our society is spread over 12 acres, comprising of 1000 flats in 30 buildings. A total of 2500 residents live here. Clearly, our water requirement is huge and it simply wasn’t possible to spend so much money on tankers. Therefore, in a society meeting back in 2008, when someone suggested we employ a sustainable solution like rainwater harvesting, everyone readily agreed” tells Santosh Maskar, the society’s chairman.
The residents as well as the managing committee conducted research about different models of rainwater harvesting like that of Mr Kedia in Aurangabad across Maharashtra and decided to run a pilot project to use rainwater harvesting to refill the society’s bore wells.
“The total daily demand of water in the society is 10 to 12 lakh litres, while we receive only 70,000 to 80,000 litres per day from PCMC. The rest of the water comes from our bore wells, which we recharge every year during monsoons,” informs Santosh.
In 2009, the pilot project was implemented in six buildings by spending Rs 2.5 to Rs 3 lakh. Then the society kept adding seven to eight buildings every year. Today, all 22 bore wells get recharged with fresh rainwater every monsoon and the society ends up saving over Rs 20 lakh every year, according to Santosh.
The society has not only managed to remain tanker-free, but has also managed to reduce water consumption drastically by employing some innovative solutions. The society members have managed to curb almost 30 per cent of their earlier water consumption.
“The society members decided to modify the flush system of the water cistern. We changed the angle of the shoulder of the flush tank and introduced a filled water bottle inside the water tank. Reduction of the shoulder angle of the flush tank to less than 30 degrees results in saving almost 30 per cent water,” explains Santosh.
The society has since continued to take more steps towards a sustainable lifestyle. By employing small energy-saving solutions like installing CFL and LED light bulbs in the society’s campus, the residents end up saving over 1 lakh units of electricity every month.
Considering that there was no park in the vicinity, the society’s residents decided to conduct a plantation drive in the society.
Now, the 12-acre campus of the society is home to over 3000 trees and plants including fruits like mangoes, black berry, guava and tamarind.
“Once we had so much greenery, we saw an increase in birds that came to nest on these trees. To attract more birds and conserve the disappearing sparrows, we decided to take up an initiative to install bird feeders. We got over 300 bird feeders from an NGO in Nashik called Nature Forever and installed them of different trees. Now, we see so many birds permanently nesting here, it’s a joy to see! Even people from adjacent societies come here to see birds,” says Santosh.
The society has also set an example in waste management by achieving 100% segregation of waste at the source.
“We wish to take up many more such initiatives in the future. We have over 2000 residents who have a say in the decision making process and everyone has agreed on each and every initiative we took. If your ideas make sense, it’s not difficult to convince people. We’ll keep going the eco-friendly way. Ultimately, it benefits nobody but us,” concludes Santosh.
To know more about the NGO Nature Forever, click here.