Posts Tagged ‘harvesting’


When the rain gods favour- stock up.

September 21, 2013

Monsoon Blessings


Summary:           It is in years of plenty that we should stock up for times of shortage

Many people are moving into a problem solving mode but it needs institutional reinforcement to help achieve maximum benefits.


The major Public Sector undertaking has a very large campus and has a huge water demand. It draws water from the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board and pays a hefty Rs 60 per kilo-litre for the water. Being water smart, it has set-up a waste-water recycling unit and ensures that all waste-water is treated and reused for non-potable purpose particularly gardening .Lawns are extensive in the campus and is needed for dust suppression. The unit has also set up a huge lake to harvest run-off from its vast land. More than 170 million litres of storm-runoff is stored in this vast lake.

Their attention has turned to the large rooftop areas they have on campus. From 11,500 square metre of roof area, they simply connected the rainwater downpipes and brought it into a small 20,000 litre sump tank. From here they have put a pump to send the water directly into a much larger sump tank which takes water through a Reverse Osmosis unit. This R.O. water is needed for their manufacturing purpose. The investment they had to make was Rs 10 lakhs.  Was the investment worth it?

The benefits translate as follows. They are likely to harvest 10 million litres of water annually. This will result in a savings of Rs 6 lakhs annually. The payback period for the investment is thus less than 2 years. There are other benefits. The embodied energy in alternate water, either from the BWSSB or bore-wells, is roughly 2 units of power per kilo-litre of water. The industry will therefore save nearly 20,000 units of power annually. This also translates as a savings in carbon emissions.

There are other benefits. The harvested rainwater is very soft with a Total Dissolved Solids of less than 50 ppm. This is likely to reduce further as the initial leaching of cement from the sump tank and the pipes become less.  As against this the water they used from bore-wells had a TDS level of nearly 1000 ppm. The life of the membrane used for R.O. now increases. The reject water from the R.O. has fewer salts and can be recycled more easily than before.

The advantage is clear and it is likely that the industry will move quickly ahead to cover all roof-tops with rainwater harvesting systems. This means that over 100,000 square metres can be covered and over 100 million litres of rainwater harvested. No small feat for an industry located in a water scarce city.

A University: The University of Agriculture with a sprawling 1200 acres campus was once outside the city. Now it has become integral and falls within the Corporation Limits. Its water demand for agricultural crops is high. Most of the water comes from bore-wells. These are over exploited and many have gone dry. It has designed for itself a watershed based rainwater harvesting system. Thanks to a bountiful September rain a great amount of water has been collected and allowed to percolate into the ground. Many bore-wells have revived and are humming with water. The University is able to meet its water demands and students and Professors can continue to develop knowledge with experiments on the ground.

Groundwater banks are being created in the city by institutions that occupy large tracts of lands and have large rooftops. These efforts supplement the water delivery to the city and make the city water smart. Things have to be scaled up and more such institutions brought into the rainwater harvesting community. Further deeper understanding of how much water is actually recharged into the ground, what is a reasonable water demand to keep the groundwater banks humming for 2 to 3 years will ensure that the water shortfall in the city is overcome. Creative solutions using knowledge is the hall mark of the city and in this lies water wisdom.


Menu from the monsoon – Rice and coffee from Rain

June 10, 2013

The monsoon is a magical time in India. The season of the wind, clouds and rain brings joy to a parched land. Rainwater to India is a gift from the Indian Ocean. The clouds do the couriers job and the winds play assistant. When i falls on our heads it is good to keep a clean catchment and then collect it in Rain barrels. You can then put this soft water which is slightly acidic to good use . Apart from drinking the water (after checking for purity) you can make coffee from it.


A clean roof , a good cloth filter and a food grade HDPE tank to store rainwater


Clean soft water slightly acidic and with a high Dissolved Oxygen content – rain

Here is Indian Ocean coffee for you 


My coffee Percolator …filter we call it in this part of the world


The percolator container comes on top


Ground coffee powder goes in – Arabica with 5 % chicory is my favourite


The cover plate on the coffee powder , to hold it steady


Rainwater goes in – cold not hot – so that the Oxygen is not lost and there is an earthy taste


Then you put the top lid and wait


Rainwater percolates through the coffee powder..take it from the bottom container and percolate it again


Indian Ocean coffee is ready

Then again you can also make rice using rainwater


Rice , rainwater in a pressure cooker


Soft tasty white rice …eat the monsoon flavour



Add milk and sugar as per taste and heat if you like. I prefer it cold and neat













Letter from a reader – the thing that makes the world a nice place

April 9, 2013
I have been an ardent reader of your articles which appears every Saturday in The Hindu (Habitat).
I have converted to become a farmer myself after nearly 20 years of Corporate service.  We strongly believe in Organic Farming Practices and Sustainability, which of course, Rain water harvesting is one of major tool. 
In one of our farms extending nearly 20 acres we did dig up some trench and ponds for water to be collected during rain about 18 months ago.  The last two years have been frustrating for us with insufficient rainfall and not able to see results with our effort.  Also we had several people laughing at us and ridiculing our work.
However, as we all know we received good rainfall on one day i e., on 6th morning in the early hours, it was for about one hour and approximately 35 mm of rainfall was recorded.  The result, it transformed the entire area.  There were no major top soil erosion thanks to various trench which cut across the farm.  Two ponds exclusively created to collect water was filled to the brim.  
I have no more words to express than few pictures attached herewith.  I also acknowledge much I was inspired and motivated by writers and activists like you to work in this direction.  I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks on this occasion.  
Looking forward to hear from you.   
Contour trench to recharge rainwater