A harvest lesson we can’t forget

CHENNAI: Yellowed shirts hung out to dry -- this was the first giveaway when Chennai’s rain man Sekhar Raghavan walked right into a residential complex in Virgumbakkam that was within the grip of a water crisis in the summertime of 2008.
Ten of the 17 borewells drilled as much as a depth of 150 ft in this three-acre plot that housed 384 households had run dry. Residents have been no strangers to the situation. It were just six years since the town faced certainly one of its worst droughts after the monsoon failed. But this time there was a difference: Metrowater’s remark wells confirmed town’s groundwater desk had long gone up via almost 50% since the 2002 drought. Officials attributed the rise to the intensive marketing campaign and law that made rainwater harvesting mandatory for all constructions. But residents of Ceebros Garden didn't percentage the optimism. “We have been baffled,” stated Mohan S, secretary of its residents’ welfare association.

Worse, water in 4 in their wells have been orange – a sign of top iron content material. With Metrowater supply being erratic, residents at most apartment complexes within the town have been at the mercy of personal water tankers. “We used to spend Rs 6-7lakh annually,” stated Mohan. The requirement was around 75,000 litres on a daily basis.

That was after they became to Sekhar of Rain Center for lend a hand. After guiding residents on tactics to restore their current rainwater harvesting construction, Sekhar walked to the apartment complex around the highway to gauge their water degree. Their state of affairs was some distance got rid of from the desperation in their neighbours. Water was to be had of their open wells at 4 ft. With the discovery, Sekhar’s marketing campaign for better water management took a new flip. For the last decade he has been sensitising residents concerning the presence of 2 aquifers – the shallow aquifer that extends as much as a depth of 60 ft and reaps the dividends of a rainwater harvesting system, and the deep aquifer that lies under a layer of hardrock at a depth of just about 100 ft. Mohan and his neighbours sunk 4 open wells on their premises and hit water.

Their timing was easiest. The northeast monsoon that followed the 2008 summer washed out memories of the crisis. Within the compound partitions of Ceebros Garden, the rainwater in terraces and driveways was diverted to tanks under. The just right spells of rain persisted until 2011. Wells brimmed, extra borewells have been drilled and the marketing campaign for rainwater harvesting lost sheen. Metrowater’s data confirmed the per capita water consumption within the town had long gone as much as 110 litres per capita per day (LPCD) – almost quadruple since 2003, when it stood at 28LPCD. The extravagance was glaring in Mohan’s household too. “We had stopped maintaining our rainwater harvesting setup. The crisis was at the back of us,” stated the 56-year-old businessman.

But a crisis-related to water is only a season away in Chennai. The town had a deficit monsoon in 2012. However, water managers have been upbeat as two months later, on February 22, 2013, the government inaugurated the Rs871 crore desalination plant in Nemmeli. The plant would cater to 15 lakh residents in Chennai’s south.

Mohan wasn’t a beneficiary however the news nonetheless excited him. “I assumed it was just a subject of time prior to lets totally rely on Metrowater to see us thru summers,” stated Mohan. Four months later, shortage hit town. With storage ranges in its reservoirs speedy dwindling, Metrowater minimize water supply from 831 million litres per day (MLD) to 550MLD. Till date, the water agency has not been able to go back to supplying the preliminary quantum.

The dry spell persisted into 2014 and the common groundwater degree fell via as much as 4 meters around the town. “We had to revert to non-public tanker supply,” stated Mohan. “But it wasn’t as dangerous as 2008. Our borewells have been dry, we nonetheless had water in our open wells,” he stated. Occupants of the apartment complex after several meetings realised that they had the resources and a law to conserve water. “We just had to put it to use,” stated Mohan. And they did. When town went underneath water in 2015 after receiving the very best amount of rainfall in additional than a century, Mohan and his neighbours tapped this water.

And, in 2017, it buffered them throughout the worst drought since 2002. “Which drought?” requested Mohan. The crisis within the town ended at their gates.

A harvest lesson we can’t forget A harvest lesson we can’t forget Reviewed by kailash soni on April 17, 2018 Rating: 5
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