Rainwater makes Yelahanka rail factory shun BWSSB water

Rainwater makes Yelahanka rail factory shun BWSSB water

Ashwath, an employee of Rail Wheel Factory, captures the well and watershed area.

Setting a milestone in rainwater harvesting initiatives, the Rail Wheel Factory in Yelahanka has stopped taking two lakh litres of water per day from the BWSSB. An RWH intervention has ensured that four of its wells are able to supply water even in the summer. 

Since its inception in 1984, the factory has the capacity to produce 2 lakh wheels and 75,000 axles to meet the railways’ requirements. Water is required for cooling of furnaces and other equipment. 

Of the three lakh litres of water needed, two lakh litres (treated water) came from the BWSSB. But since October 2017, the factory has not taken water from the BWSSB, achieving complete self-sufficiency. This has also saved the factory about Rs 10 lakh per month towards the water bill. 

But it was not the cost that moved Ajay Singh, the chief workshop engineer in the factory, to look for self-sufficiency. “I found out that Bengaluru gets an average annual rainfall of 948 mm. For the factory spread across 191 acres, it means 7 lakh kilolitres of water.

There should have been a surplus of water beyond our requirement of 300 kilolitres for 300 working days. This made us think about conserving rainwater,” he said. 

Led by Singh, employees of the factory volunteered for three or four hours once a week to work on the RWH since May 2017. In three months, a network of watershed areas was formed and four wells, three of which had died, were rejuvenated. 

On Monday, when DH visited the factory, some of the stormwater drains still had a small stream of clean water flowing towards the watershed area and two of the wells were full to the brim.

Singh explained that last month’s rain was still trickling through the grassland above the drain. Some of the excess water is flowing into Puttanahalli Lake. Employees have gone a step ahead with each planting a sapling along the stormwater drain.

A part of the premises has now turned into a forest-like area with evergreen streams and dense foliage. While several peacocks have made it their home, Singh says migratory birds are also visiting the place.