The people of Chennai must revive the practice of rainwater harvesting in their households in order to have self sufficiency in water, said Shantha Sheela Nair, former civil servant and vice-chairman, Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission, here on Wednesday. She added that rainwater harvesting would help the city to tide over any water scarcity.
Speaking at the inaugural of a one-day workshop on ‘Simple steps to achieve water sufficiency’ organised by Rain Centre, she said, “It was in the year 2002, during the election campaign, one of the major political parties included in its election manifesto a pledge to have rainwater harvesting all through the State. That party came to power and the government had rainwater harvesting systems in all households across the State within one year. During that time without any additional budget we completed the scheme. Rainwater harvesting systems in houses spread like a people’s movement. Some people went to court claiming it was not possible to have RWH within one year, but the court rejected their petitions.”
“A couple of years after implementing the RWH scheme, the Centre for Science & Environment and the Madras Institute of Development Studies, along with Chennai Metro Water, conducted a study and it was found that the groundwater table had risen from two metres to three. The quality of the water improved. A large part of the fluoride content was also diluted,” she said.
“Even now, we must sensitise people to the need for rainwater harvesting in their houses, which can give sufficient water at least for their household use. Self sufficiency in water can also be achieved through the recycling of grey water. Metro Water should conduct such workshops in residential areas to bring awareness among the people,” said Nair.
Sekhar Raghavan, director, Rain Centre, said, “The Centre conducts such workshops in the city for three major stakeholders – architects, builders and planners from the CMDA, the media and the engineers of the Corporation and the Metro Water board. Since Chennai is not a rain-starved city, if we are able to implement RWH effectively, it will cater to our water needs to a large extent.”