My friend Colonel. Roshan Sharma after a distinguished career in the Army took up a challenging assignment as the Adminstrator of a leading ultra modern hospital. In addition he also got passionately involved in various CSR activities. As a guest writer he shares his thoughts & own experience on one such successful initiative – ‘Rainwater harvesting’. The need to spread awareness on water conservation has become a matter of supreme importance these days. And now its over to Roshan –
I wish to share my concerns on the important need for water management in the context of ‘rain water harvesting’. According to a World Bank report the water situation in the country will become critical in less than two decades. Ground water levels are depleting & sources are drying up at an alarming rate. There is therefore an urgent need to replenish this precious natural resource by traditional as well as innovative means and to avoid its indiscriminate use.
Smart water harvesting
Rain water harvesting implies accumulating and storing of rainwater for reuse before it reaches the underground water bearing layer of permeable rock known as aquifer. Nature gives us abundant water to meet our needs & requirements. When we lived, well spaced out in open country side; for our water requirements, we just dug a well or a bore well and for irrigation we depended on ponds & lakes.
For our convenience & comfort we started living in concentrated pockets in towns & cities. This entailed an extra responsibility on us i.e. catering for large quantities of water needed by this concentrated population; but we failed. Our greed for land; blinded us to even ignore our basic need for water.
We went on a spree to land fill all ponds & low lying areas. These ponds & low lying areas are in fact valuable sources to replenish the underground water reservoirs known as aquifers. We need to correct this folly of ours.
Rainwater harvesting at a hospital
Rain water harvesting when simply put means-collecting the surface rain water & feed it to the aquifer. One of the top rated hospitals in Pune, took the lead to do just that & benefited from it. With so much construction of buildings, a large amount of surface water falls on roof tops & the balance on open spaces.
During the year 2007-08 there was an acute shortage of water supply in our city.
To add to this problem; other sources to augment water supply to the hospital i.e. bore wells & an old well in the area; had dried up. The hospital had to buy water from private sources using water tankers. A total of Rs 4 lakh were spent during the year to buy water, app 900 tankers. During Mar 2008, the hospital spent Rs 1.5 lakh for ‘rain water harvesting’. The existing rooftop rain water drainage system was connected to a new set of pipes to enable the rain water to flow into the dry bore well shafts.
There was another problem. The construction surrounding the hospital area is such that natural drainage was blocked. Thus water after any rain used to get accumulated. These low lying areas were identified. Soakage pits were constructed at these sites to help percolation of rain water into the ground. This also solved the problem of flooding. Thus ‘rain water harvesting’ helped to raise the level of ground water in the aquifer. The previously dry, bore wells & the old well in the area got recharged. Ever since, for the last four years the hospital gets enough water from aquifer to meet its requirement. The hospital’s dependence on our town’s official water supply system reduced considerably. This saved water is now available for other consumers in the area. Thus the hospital is not only helping itself but fulfilling a social responsibility, as well.
These figures show the savings accrued to the hospital for the last four years:-
|Year||No of Tankers Used||Cost app(Rs)||Savings compared to 4L(Rs)|
Note:-Rate per tanker varies. For convenience Rs 600/per tanker has been taken.
Concluding with a quote “When the well is dry, we know the worth of water” ~ Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). Remember water is the most precious gift given to us by nature and is limited. Please do view this inspirational video on water management in desert with wisdom and wit, Anupam Mishra talks about the amazing feats of engineering built centuries ago by the people of India’s Golden Desert to harvest water. These structures are still used today — and are often superior to modern water megaprojects – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJCTAXb_BWs
Thanks Dilip and all of my friends for this opportunity to share my thoughts with you.