Archive for May, 2008



May 6, 2008
Water Quiz In our quest to underline the importance of saving water for human sustenance and emphasise the advantages of rainwater harvesting and treatment procedures, PropertyPlus has been bringing out a weekly column ‘Waterwise.’ The aim is to create awareness on the reward and compensation that one draws out of prudent water uses. Our ‘Water Quiz’ will be yet another attempt to inform and educate you on the facts and data related to water. We do hope our efforts help in increasing your general knowledge which would also help you realise the overriding significance the subject draws in the present scenario, where increased population and buildings throw additional demands on saving the ‘elixir of life.’

Additionally, several right answers in our questions that require detailed explanations would be elucidated by our columnist, S. Vishwanath, for giving you a better perspective of the subject and making you understand the core issues involved.

Happy quizzing! Read the rest of this entry ?


Ka- Sanskrit root meaning water

May 6, 2008


Preserve the lifeline S. VISHWANATH

The Sanskrit ‘Ka’ meaning ‘water’ is the language root for both the Arkavathy and the Cauvery

— Photo: M. Moorthy

Save it: The Cauvery in all its splendour at sunset. The Jamuna for Delhi, the Manjira and Krishna for Hyderabad, the Cauvery and the Krishna for Chennai and the Arkavathy and the Cauvery for Bangalore — rivers are the lifeline for our cities.

The Sanskrit ‘Ka’ meaning water is the language root for both the Arkavathy and the Cauvery. It is important therefore for us to treat our rivers with respect. Each individual’s action counts…be it consuming less water, ensurin g wastewater treatment, managing garbage correctly and planting and taking care of trees and forests in the catchment of our rivers.

Primary source

It rains on the land and rain is the primary source of water. The forests hold the water and release it slowly, ensuring that the soil does not run off and erode and also choke up water bodies. The rivers run from the waters they receive from the surface of the land, but very importantly from the waters that they receive from the base flows below the ground and which appear as springs or feed the channels directly. We take the water from the rivers for our use but we need to return it in the same quality at which we took it.

How would it be if every city were to release its wastewater upstream and draw its fresh water requirement downstream of the release point of wastewater? Would we be more ecologically responsible?

It is time for all of us to ensure that the precious resource called water is well understood, distributed equally to all and taken care of as a precious gift of nature. For that we need to become water literate. And water literacy — knowing where the water we use comes from and taking responsibility for its wise use and release back to nature after use — is the first step towards water wisdom.


Pouring rain

May 6, 2008


How do we preserve rain? S. VISHWANATH

City centres and slightly downwind areas receive 15 per cent more rain than the suburbs

— Photo: G. Moorthy

GET WISER: Being water wise is to understand that rain, the primary source of all water, has to be stored or recharged judiciously While in the countryside rain is a joyful event, in a city it is met with grumbles because it disrupts plans for an evening out or causes floods on the streets or causes power breakdowns. Interestingly, city centres and slightly downwind areas receive up to 15 per cent more rain than the suburbs. It rains more in the city because of the heat island effect — the concrete and asphalt capturing and radiating heat. The intensity of the rainfall also seems to be more in the city.

All the more reason for us to be prepared and to take steps to convert what we perceive to be a nuisance into a resource. The first step is to calculate the rain that falls and the number of rainy days. A rainy day or a wet day is when it rains more than 2.50 mm. This information is available on the India Meteorological Department website and portal.

The next step is to calculate or find out your plot area and roof area. The next step is to find out the monthly average rainfall. Finally make the choice of filtering rainwater from the rooftop and storing it in a sump. A sump of 6,000 litres is ideal for a 100 square metre roof area but even 2,000 litres of storage will do. Pick the overflow and lead it into a recharge well. Do the same with the plot runoff. A recharge well is typically three ft. in diameter and about 20 ft. deep.

Being water wise is to understand that rain in a city is a blessing to be carefully stored. It does not matter how much it rains, it matters more what we do with the rain.


Aerobic Rice – Part Deux

May 6, 2008

New ‘aerobic rice’ by Jan
From Kalyan Ray, DH News Service, New Delhi:
A new rice variety that can thrive on less than half of water needed for existing varieties is expected to be released in Karnataka for commercial cultivation by January, 2009.

And what may be an additional plus point, this rice line does not contribute much towards global warming unlike the regular rice varieties. The new rice variety called “aerobic rice” has been developed by plant breeders at the University of Agricultural Sciences(UAS) in Bangalore. Begun as part of an all-India project of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR), it has completed an independent trial for three years.

However, since entering into the central trial is the official requirement for a state-wide release, the UAS is trying to make a beginning with a release in the dry zones of Karnataka early next year. “I am proceeding with release formalities at the UAS, Bangalore starting January, 2009. That is the earliest we can do it. Since water is a scare resource, we need to show results at the earliest,” Dr H E Shashidhar, the developer of aerobic rice, told Deccan Herald.


Around the same time, Raipur’s Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya may also release the line for the farmers in Chhattishgarh. Due to their low water use efficiency, the existing rice varieties need 3,000 to 5,000 litres of water to produce one kg of grain. Usage of excess water also reduces the efficiency of the fertiliser.

On the contrary, the new line’s water requirement has been cut down by 40-50 per cent, making it suitable for cultivation in the state’s drought-prone areas.

Moreover, because of the absence of standing water for days, it does not generate the green house gas methane, which is one of the major contributors to global warming. Normally, methane is produced during irrigated rice cultivation.

“Because of standing water in paddy fields, soil organic matter is decomposed in an anaerobic (without oxygen) processes generating methane,” said Dr Shashidhar, who is currently working in Barwale Foundation in Hyderabad.

As there will be no such decomposition during the cultivation of this line, it is called aerobic rice. He claims that with the rice root running almost three times deeper, there would be better water absorption and air circulation.
While the new variety gave a yield of about 55 quintals per hectare, which is par with the regular varieties, it becomes ready for harvesting between 120 and 130 days. The UAS has completed trials at six locations between 2005 and 2007 in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Manila. Trials took place at Bangalore, Raipur, Cuttack, Faizabad, Coimbatore and Hazaribagh.