Workshop highlights sustainable water management techniques for OMR residents

S. Joseph, who lives in an apartment complex in Thoraipakkam, has been buying water from tankers for nearly six years now. He is among the thousands of residents along OMR dependent on tanker water and looking for solutions to the mounting water crisis.

For residents like him, a water workshop was organised by Citizen Matters, an online magazine of NGO Oorvani Foundation, and ADDA, an apartment management software company, at Thoraipakkam recently. The workshop discussed various solutions to mitigate water crisis and empower people to adopt sustainable water management.

“A two-member family in our apartment spends a minimum of ₹2,000 per month on water. We have rainwater harvesting structures. But, groundwater has turned saline and we depend on tankers. I learnt in the workshop how open well and recharge wells work better for rainwater harvesting. This has given some hope and I plan to implement it in our complex,” said Mr. Joseph. Earlier, Sekar Raghavan, Director, Rain Centre, spoke about the importance of rainwater harvesting in apartment complexes to tide over water shortage.

Community effort

“It’s a community effort and apartments with unpaved area can also harness rainwater through small ponds. Each plot of 2,400 sq. ft. should have a recharge well that could be linked to an open well. This would sustain water resource during crisis,” he said. According to Indukanth Ragade, a grey water recycling expert, recycled grey water with canna plant bed could be either used for groundwater recharge or collected after filtering for reuse. A recharge well and a trench dug near the gate would help harness surface run-off.

Several residents raised queries about the maintenance of sewage treatment plants, cost of digging open wells and simple methods for grey water recycling at the workshop. Meera K., co-founder of Citizen Matters, elaborated on the technologies available for water metering, water-efficient fixtures and use of tertiary treated sewage.

“Digital water metering would help measuring water use and even cut off supply when water loss is detected. We need such workshops to introduce technologies available for water resource management,” said Harsha Koda coordinator, Federation of OMR Residents Associations.

“The idea behind the workshop was to sensitise residents about the significance of community participation in rainwater harvesting and water conservation. We plan to organise more such events to empower residents to become self-sufficient in water management,” said Meenakshi Ramesh, one of the trustees of the NGO.

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