The 1500 residents of Jagannadharaju Nagar (JRN) Colony in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, haven’t spent a single rupee on drinking water in the past 27 years.

While this might sound like a dream, a scientist and the efforts of the residents have made this possible.

Looking at the falling levels of groundwater and scanty rainfall,  K S R Murthy, president of Jagannadha Raju Nagar Residents Welfare Association, decided to work out a plan of action nearly 27 years ago.

Motivated by the government’s encouragement to construct water harvesting pits, the RWA initiated a rainwater harvesting project.

They started by sensitising residents about the need for water harvesting and conservation.



The members then converted the abandoned wells and sumps near the apartment into water harvesting pits.

Murthy says, “We have connected the terrace directly to these pits via pipes so that monsoon water is collected properly.”

The group also came up with roadside water harvesting. “The motive was to replenish the groundwater tables so that the city does not run out of water, as we have seen in the cases of Chennai and Delhi,” adds Murthy.

The 15 pits constructed around the apartment have substantially recharged the area’s groundwater levels, saving 7.45 lakh litres of water every year.

Their initiative has also won them a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh from the Union Ministry of Water Resources in 2019.