Nitya Jacob, director (water), Centre for Science and Environment talked to HT about rainwater harvesting in Delhi and what CSE had been doing to help people set up rainwater harvesting units at their houses.
Rain water harvesting for groundwater recharge or for reuse — how do residents decide what should they do?
Depends on hydrology. If the groundwater level is high, then it can be put to re-use. If it is a hard rock area, then it has to be diverted for groundwater recharge.
What problems people face if they want to install rain water harvesting structures?
Money is a major issue. Basic expenditure can be Rs. 1 lakh for a groundwater recharge structure, incurred mainly on the storage tank and pipes. If you need to drill, the cost goes up. If taken up during construction of multi-storeyed buildings, it will be cost effective in the long-term. Another problem can be the know-how.
How can one establish an easy water recycling/reuse system at home?
A pre-condition is that the storm water and kitchen/toilet/bathroom output should not mix. A conventional small sewage treatment plant can treat 5-10 kilolitres/day. A non-conventional sewage treatment using a mix of septic tank (baffle reactor) and wasteland is another option, but it needs space.
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