It rained cats and dogs. Oh no! It rained dinosaurs in Bangalore today. It had been close to two years since we saw such widespread and heavy rains in the city. These were pre-monsoon showers and were accompanied by thunderstorms, typical of pre-monsoon showers.
News channels opened up their negative mouths and talked about how the massive rains had uprooted trees, caused inconvenience to the general public, how vehicles were stuck in jams and how BBMP wasn’t prepared for rains.
After having witnessed all these drama every year, I diverted my attention towards the phenomenon itself. It wasn’t a eureka moment for me. It was something that had been lingering in my mind for close to 3 years now – the thought of collecting all those drops of water.
Every year, newspapers and magazines and websites publish articles hailing heroes from general public who have implemented rainwater harvesting systems in their modest houses. Bangaloreans are especially known for such people. Yet, every year, the same media publishes reports of how the groundwater levels in and around the city are depleting, how the city faces a drought in the next few years and how Cauvery has gone dry trying to quench the thirst of Bangaloreans.
When they pump water from Cauvery to Bangalore, they do so from a place situated 100kms away from the city, 100m below the city. They use 4 massive pumping stations to pump the water into the pipes that are a lifeline to the city of 1.2cr people. Yet, it’s widely known that 60% of that water goes unaccounted. A large part of that unaccounted water goes down the drains due to an age-old pipeline system that leaks more than it delivers.
Bangalore stands as one of the highest consumers of water in the country. Half the city resorts to water tankers and borewells. In some areas, borewells can fail after going as deep as 1400 feet below ground level.
Now that we’ve established some known facts, let’s look back at what people have done for the city? I don’t understand why the media keeps crying when it rains in the city. Not a single media -house has ever run a few free ads or campaigns asking people to implement rainwater harvesting systems so that they help the deteriorating water situation in the city. The government (state and local) only knows to make things mandatory by law. They just don’t have a system to either implement those laws through effective checks or to incentivize such scientific methods attractively.
Being on the outskirts of the city, we are yet to be served by Cauvery. BBMP handles the distribution of water to the households in these localities through public borewells. The local lineman unofficially charges close to 100 bucks to fill up half the sump. He earns about 30-40k through illegal means. He has turned into a Don of sorts, given that he controls water distribution to 100+ households. It’s ironical that my father never accepted bribe through his 41 years of service in the Central Excise and Customs (one of those departments where secondary earnings are rampant), and has to now pay bribe to a lineman for water..
So after 3 years of deep thought, I’ve made up my mind on how to implement some good scientific practices to save some water. We don’t have a borewell that we can recharge. We have a sump that can hold 11000 litres of water which lasts up to 15 days.
We will have to make some sacrifices. Cut down the amount of water we use to half a bucket per person. Try to reuse as much water as possible. Identify areas where water usage can be minimized.
So when it rained dinosaurs today, I was estimating the amount of water that I could have harvested in 4 hours. At least 1200 litres. Enough to serve us for 2 days.!