It was raining through the night. At 4 a.m., when I woke up and proceeded to open the main gate of my independent house, I noticed that the house was engulfed by more-than-ankle-high water. I was worried that if the rain continued for a few more hours, water would enter my house as it had in the past.
Fortunately, at 6.30 a.m., the pitter-patter sound of rain had ceased. There was only a slight drizzle. By 9.30 a.m., all the water had drained out, leaving behind only the garbage that had floated into our compound from the road, which is a slightly higher level than my house.
A few years ago, it would take only a couple of hours of heavy rain for water to stagnate around the house. It would be days before the stagnant rainwater would drain.
Now, what has made the difference? Implementation of a simple rain water harvesting idea suggested by my friend, who is an engineer and contractor and has been looking after all construction-related activities in my house.
Though we had installed the traditional RWH system when I built the first floor of my house long ago, this did not help fill up our open well which had remained bone-dry for almost a decade. We had done this installation before installing an RWH structure was made compulsory. With the passing of the order by the government, our neighbours also started installing RWH structures in their houses and, with this, our open well filled up. We could use water from the well for our cooking and drinking needs.
But implementation of the new idea by my contractor-friend has not only helped increase the water level in the well to its maximum potential (water is now available at 10ft) at the end of the rainy season, but also helped in getting the water collected around the house after a heavy rain to drain in a couple of hours.
The idea given by the contractor involves digging holes on the concrete flooring surrounding the house and also on the long passage leading to our house. A hole was drilled every six feet, covering the entire length and breadth of the concrete flooring. PVC pipes that were two meters in length and six inches in diameter were embedded in these holes and filled with gravel and sand. The top was kept open thereby enabling the collected water to percolate down to the earth. This simple procedure, which cost me only a few thousand rupees, has made a big difference to our efforts to solving the problem of water stagnation.
The only maintenance required is clearing any muck that has collected on top of the holes, once a year, before the monsoon sets in.
The Corporation could consider implementing similar ideas, suitably modified to suit the ground realities, on city roads.
(R.V.Rajan is a resident of Sastri Nagar)