Chennai Saw Day Zero In 2019. Is Rainwater Harvesting A Solution?

drinking water

A study by NITI-Ayog says 40 per cent of Indians will not have any access to fresh drinking water by 2030. While this statistic is a scary one, with climate change it might be a possibility. An example of this is Chennai – one of the world’s major cities – running out of water infamously in the summer of 2019. The city called it Day Zero. 

India’s sixth-largest city, Chennai is actually one of the wettest regions of the country. In 2015, Chennai suffered its worst flood in a century. The northeast monsoon poured down as much as 494mm (19.4 inches) of rain in a day. More than 400 people in Tamil Nadu died and 1.8 million were flooded out of their homes. In the IT corridor, water reached the second floor of some buildings.

Four years later, the shortage of water in Chennai is what made headlines. While awareness and solutions to climate change are increasingly necessary, the easiest one to avoid Day Zero is rainwater harvesting. “If we all install rainwater harvesting systems in our homes and commercial buildings, there won’t be a water shortage in any area”, says Emerging Enviro Tech Solutions Pvt Ltd., a company that installs rainwater harvesting systems. “Underground water tanks of different capacities store rainwater which you can later use for any purpose”, mentions the company. 

The advantage of this system is that it can equally be applied to both the newly constructed buildings and existing ones. Many states have even passed laws to install rainwater harvesting compulsorily in both residential and commercial buildings.  “The cost of installation might be a factor to discourage people to install the systems but its expensiveness is minimal if done on a residential level”, remarks Akhilesh Kumar, Chief Engineer-II at Ayodhya Irrigation and Water Resources Department. Even the commercial costs are reasonable if these systems are incorporated on a general level. 

Another novel invention done by Vayujal Technologies Pvt. Ltd. is Atmospheric Water Generator (AWG) which converts atmospheric moisture into drinking water. “Such systems bundled with rainwater harvesting ones can also prove beneficial is providing an alternative of fresh water and help conserve”, says Kumar, when asked about his input on AWG. Such water harvesting systems provide a greater edge over seawater purification systems in terms of both efficiency and cost. With such rapid and erratic use of groundwater, finding alternate sources of the same has become pivotal and rainwater harvesting provides one of the best alternatives.

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