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URBANIA utilities bills. complement the stretched normal water storage tank. Safety precautions include The various benefits of harvesting rainwater supply. In cities like Pune and Mumbai, having locking lids or bars to prevent in urban residential areas include: the dreaded bane of water shortage and contamination of the stored water and the rationing is significantly mitigated with breeding of mosquitoes. Catchment areas Reduced groundwater pressure: rainwater harvesting, which also reduces in a city can include paved areas such as Most water supply in urban areas comes the dependency on water reservoirs and car parks, roads and paths, where water from reservoirs, rivers and lakes. Urban dams. can be harvested for several non-drinking water supply also involves putting up purposes. treatment plants, supply pipes as well as Environmental boon: pumping stations. In most Indian cities, When several residential buildings in a city Government support: city planning authorities cannot match use rain water harvesting systems, there is The Indian government has laid out a utilities with the pace of growth. Water a significant decrease in surface run offs, number of plans concerning harvesting of resources are impossibly stretched even floods, soil erosion and reduced pressure rainwater and putting it to maximum use. in the most developed cities in the world, on the drainage system. Collecting A good example is the ongoing work done but the problem is worse in developing rain water means less contamination of by Greater Vishakhapatnam Municipal countries like India, which see a greater surface water from surface run off, when Corporation (GVMC). The municipality is rate of population movement from rural rainwater picks up pesticides and other going to fine households that do not have areas to urban areas. Geologists and harmful chemicals that ends up in rivers the mandatory rainwater pits. engineers are constantly struggling to and lakes. New apartment projects in several Indian find new sources of water. The demand Collecting rainwater, especially in low- states are now required to be engineered of water in industrial uses has led to lying areas, reduces the possibility of to have rainwater harvesting systems. further depletion of ground water levels. In floods. It can also protect the soil from In many areas, the government is also Indian cities like Pune, there is relentless erosion caused by peak storm runoffs. promoting rainwater harvesting as a drilling for ground water, with shafts Rainwater collection therefore also serves means to address the scarcity of water for going deeper as the search for more water an environment conservation purpose by agriculture. As rainfall is getting visibly continues. In such a scenario, rainwater preventing contamination of other water scantier, the government is planning can significantly supplement a city’s sources and ensuring that less water is to implement special measures and water supply and reduce the pressure on drawn from lakes and rivers. urge residential societies, educational conventional water supplies. Rainwater collection can be used to institutions and similar buildings to recharge ground water levels through optimize water saving and usage. Lower bills: various methods, and to improve the The increased areas of paving and roads When rainwater is harvested in a housing quality of ground water. This helps in is preventing the proper percolation of complex, it can be used for various improving urban greenery; in fact, this is rainwater, ultimately affecting the water non-drinking purposes that require the only reliable means of having green table and causing water bottlenecks in large volumes of water. For instance, areas within urban areas without leeching the outskirts. Installation of pits at regular rainwater can be used for functions off from existing water supplies. Within intervals over urbanised localities is a such as household and vehicle cleaning, large residential projects, such water can good way to trap this water for better use. garden and green space maintenance be used for landscape irrigation. The Centre for Science and Environment and toilet flushing. This means greatly (CSE) is now promoting the maximum reduced utility bills, because rainwater Easy implementation: use of rainwater and its harvesting all can complement the conventional water Rainwater harvesting systems are across the country. It has launched various supply system. This is equally applicable easy to install and maintain. Since campaigns to educate people on India’s for industries that use up large quantities rainwater is pure, there is no need for traditional water harvesting processes. of water for various uses. Industries can the complex purifying systems that have The organisation has gathered all NGOs make use of rainwater for the majority of to be employed to clean ground water. working in this area under its wings, and their operations and therefore reducing Rainwater collection systems are based is running consultancies to improve the pressure on ground water. on basic technology, and maintenance conditions. only involves occasional cleaning of the Rainwater harvesting should be the Backup creation: storage tanks and collection pipes to default code for sustainable households. Rainwater harvesting can be used as ensure that the rainwater collected is not Builders and architects are getting aware insurance for times when water supplies contaminated. of and implementing the same in their are compromised for any reason. This In fact, rainwater harvesting can be designs. In many areas, buildings into is important, because climate change achieved by anyone. Installation of gutters which rainwater harvesting systems have has caused major disruptions in the is the first step for any building without not been integrated are being partially weather patterns in many Indian cities. them, along with a filtration system to reconstructed to add this vital measure. Rainwater can be collected and stored, ensure that leaves or any other kind and used during drought seasons to of debris do not find their way into the The author is the CMD of Maple Group u NovemBeR 2014|construction opportunities 69
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