Velacheri residents revive rain water harvesting facilities

A rainwater harvesting pit being cleaned at Tansi Nagar, Velacheri.

Chennai: Entire Velacheri is experiencing acute water shortage, but instead of taking a back seat, residents and the civic body have started a campaign to revive Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) facilities in the neighbourhood.

RWH is one of the simplest, oldest and cost-effective methods of conserving water for households. Knowing well its importance, Corporation officials along with members of residents’ association raised awareness among the people to clean the existing pits so that rainwater can be collected and stored the next monsoon.

So far, in the last seven days, 13 houses in Tansi Nagar have carried out the cleaning process and 10 more are in the waiting list.

The target set by the group is 100 houses in this locality and 1,000 houses in the ward. R Charukasadesikan, a resident of Tansi Nagar, who had his RWH pit revamped, said, “We built this in 2004, and it was last cleaned three years ago because it was difficult to find a person to clean it. People remember about their RWH facility only while facing water crunch. Sadly, there has not been sufficient rain the last two years. We hope it rains in the near future.”

For the revamping process, the civic body has supplied manpower, as families usually find it difficult to get it. The workers are reportedly cleaning two RWHs in a day. Members of Tansi Nagar Welfare Association spearheaded the campaign.

Speaking about the initiative, C Shanmugam, vice-president, said, “The work is going on well. We are doing this due to low groundwater level. Even cost wise, it is affordable. If it is done well, we can be safe during monsoon season.”

Currently, Solid Waste Management team is helping in carrying out the campaign work. Jegatha, who is part of the team, said, “The Chennai Corporation is involved in spreading social awareness about RWH due to depletion in groundwater level. If it is done, we can save rainwater at home and use it. It also helps increase bore water. The facility was implemented in 2004 and stickers were pasted to identify houses which had the facility. But it was not used properly. RWH is important and must be done without fail. Every house, villa and apartment must open one and see to it that it is functioning.”

Assistant Engineer, Chennai Corporation, Mary said, “We received good response after the campaign. We noticed that people who maintained their RWH facility had saved reasonable quantity of water. Our target is 1,000 houses per division. But we want to do it 100 per cent.”

Naomi N