Communities employ RWH to script turnaround tales

­A few years ago, a community of 100 families from various apartments and villas in TZ Homes, Varthur, were reeling under intense water shortage. Water tanker companies were charging exorbitant amounts and even the water they supplied had to be used sparingly.

“We were buying water from as many as 10 tankers everyday, but even this was not enough and had to be rationed,” said Srinivasan Sekar, a member of Local Residents Association.

All this changed in 2012, when the residents took matters into their own hands by deciding on a plan of community water management of rain water, replenishment of ground water and recycling of waste water from the complex. For the past three years, there have been no water-related complaints.

Rainbow Drive Layout in Yemalur is another well-known case where a community response to the problem of water scarcity led to it becoming a model for others to replicate. They decided to have only community borewells, penalised households with no rainwater harvesting and invested in phytroid water-based waste treatment plants. The result was a decreased demand of water from 250 litres per capita per day (lpcd) to around 100 lpcd, abundance of water and disappearance of flooding, to name a few. 

Positive stories such as these came to the fore at an interactive workshop on groundwater management organised by Wipro in association with various other organisations recently.
Experts at the interaction pointed out the need for participatory aquifer mapping through citizens and a community response for recharging aquifers and rainwater management to reduce water wastage.

Shubha Ramachandran of Water Sustainability Consultant in Biome, a design firm focusing on ecology, architecture and water, pointed out the need for a water-literate citizenry that involved various actors such as resident welfare associations, schools, business and the government.

Ashwin Mahesh, urban affairs commentator, said that there was a need for knowledge about such initiatives to reach more people and more data collection is needed on the matter by various organisations, as there has been no data compiled by government agencies. 

Senior officials from BWSSB, BBMP, CGWB (Central Ground Water Board), KSPCB and various academic and research institutes attended the programme.

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