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Monday 7 February 2000

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Rain water harvesting gaining acceptance

By Parul Chandra

The Times of India News Service

NEW DELHI: On the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus in the Capital, the water table has risen by about a metre after it was recharged with water trapped through check dams.

In the neighbouring IIT, the declining water table has been raised by three to four metres through rain water harvesting.

On the President's Estate, re-charging of ground water began recently using water which would, otherwise, flow into the drains.

In Amritsar, water flowing out of the Golden Temple sarovar is to be used for re-charging ground water.

Not only does re-charging ground water arrest, even raise, the declining water table, it can also help augment water supply, say experts. Knowing the importance of re-charging ground water, the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) is taking steps to encourage it through rain water harvesting in the Capital and elsewhere.

Rain water harvesting essentially means collecting rain water on the roofs of buildings and storing it underground for later use.

The water resources ministry, hoping to set an example, plans to introduce rain water harvesting in the building where it is housed, Shram Shakti Bhawan, as also Sewa Bhawan and the Central Soil and Materials Research Station, both located in the Capital.

Among other buildings which have been asked to go in for rain water harvesting are the Central Ground Water Board's head office in Faridabad, the National Institute of Hydrology in Roorkeee and the Brahmaputra Board headquarters in Guwahati.

Member secretary of the Central Ground Water Board S K Sharma says: ``Not only does rain water harvesting increase water availability, it also checks the declining water table.'' He adds, ``every drop of water has to be saved and this will ensure water is not wasted.'' And rain water harvesting is not only simple but economical too, he adds.

Other benefits of harvesting rain water: the process is environment friendly, helps improve ground water quality, helps meet increasing demand for water, particularly in urban areas and prevent flooding of roads.

Town planners in Chennai realised this in 1993 itself when the building by-laws were amended to ensure all new structures had arrangements for rain water harvesting. No water or sewage connections would be given if a new building did not have provisions for harvesting rain water as per the new rules.

According to ministry officials, water resources minister C P Thakur has already written to urban development minister Jagmohan suggesting that regulations on the lines of those in force in Chennai be implemented in Delhi and other places.

A pamphlet brought out by the CGWB says ground water recharge from a house with a 100 sq metre roof-top will be 55,000 litres in a year, sufficient for a period of four months for a family of five members.

For the Capital, the additional recharging of ground water will be around 76,500 million litres per year - this would help meet four per cent of its annual requirement, says the pamphlet.

No small contribution this in view of the shortage of potable water faced by the Capital.



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