In 1992, amidst an intense volleyball game, an incident changed Rajkot-based Mahindrasinh Zala’s life forever.
An accident during the game detached his retinas, causing him to lose 90 per cent of his vision.
After six surgeries in Ahmedabad and Rajkot, his vision still didn’t return. “Maybe this is what was written in my destiny, that whatever I do, I have to work with only 10 per cent of my vision,” he says.
Now 60 and living with a visual impairment, Mahindrasinh has been working diligently for over 10 years to save the water that flows through his building every monsoon.
There are seven tanks that are spread across the second-floor terrace, first-floor terrace, and ground floor of the Kothariya colony where he resides.
He collects water during the monsoon and directs it through the pipes he has installed there.
Once the 3,000-litre second floor terrace tank fills, the water that overflows goes to two 1,000-litre tanks on the first-floor terrace through pipes
If there is any excess water left, it is stored in a 2,000-litre tank on the ground floor.
“Through this system, I save a total of 1 lakh litres of water every year. This is used throughout the year,” he says.
“The water is used to wash clothes and vessels, to shower, water plants, everything. Wherever water is required in the household, we use that water only,” explains his daughter-in-law Asha.
Even if it does not rain, the water sustains the house for a good 20 days.
A mechanical engineer by profession, Mahindrasinh was inspired by the water scarcity he noticed early on to start this project.
With his tanks, every monsoon he saves over 1 lakh litres of rainwater.
Recognising his efforts, in 2021, the Jal Shakti Department (Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation) awarded him the title ‘Water Hero’.