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Mumbai cops set up rainwater harvesting system, help 2,300 families get daily water supply

The project in Naigon is the largest of its kind in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region

mumbai Updated: Nov 20, 2017 10:21 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
rainwater harvesting,Mumbai police,green heroes
Nine old borewells were also revived as part of the project.(HT)

The armed police headquarters at Naigon, Dadar, does not depend upon the local municipal corporation for its water supply.

Along with non-profit organisation Centre for Environmental Research and Education (CERE), the Mumbai police set up the largest rainwater harvesting (RWH) system in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

With the capacity to harvest 38.8 million litres of rainfall every monsoon, it supplies water to the residential building surrounding these open grounds.

Serving as the base for three battalions and several special units of the Mumbai police, the precinct is home to more than 2,300 families of the constabulary, a municipal school, and a police hospital. However, it received less than 20 minutes of municipal water supply daily. This will now be augmented by the new system.

According to CERE, more than 10,000 water tankers ply in Mumbai and the cost of fresh water constantly increases with an ever-widening demand-supply gap, leading to severe water shortages annually.

READ: Mumbai college reuses 8-lakh litres of rainwater, prevents 4.7K kg waste from landing at dumpyards

“Owing to concretisation, most of the rainfall is lost as surface water run off and flows into the sea through storm water drains, instead of being allowed to percolate into the soil to recharge our depleted ground water aquifers,” said Rashneh N Pardiwala, founder and director, CERE, architect of the project.

“Rainwater harvesting would be the only long-term, cost-effective, low maintenance solution to address the city’s water woes.”

In April, the RWH system was initiated at three large grounds at the precinct, and was completed within three-and-a-half months, before the onset of the monsoon.

About rainwater harvesting
  • Rainwater is the first source of water. It needs to be filtered to be made potable through rainwater harvesting.
  • Rainwater harvesting is done by recharging groundwater and helps in sustaining the ecology.
  • It is a one-time cost-effective measure that can improve the quality of water. Through rainwater harvesting, a lot of money can be saved.
  • Around 800 million litres of water is wasted through leakages in tankers every day, as per BMC data. Rainwater harvesting can help save this precious resource.

The team dug 1,150 cubic metres of percolation trenches to allow the rainfall to seep into the ground and recharge the underground aquifers. They repaired and revived nine dry bore wells within the precinct, which will now be used to store water.

The pipes from these bore wells are connected to washrooms used by residents.

Mumbai police commissioner Datta Padsalgikar, joint commissioner of police (admin) Archana Tyagi and additional commissioner of police Aswati Dorje inaugurated the system.

“Even though Mumbai received more than 300mm of rain on August 29-30 and September 19-20, there was no flooding around the three grounds,” said police. “Even though Naigon is a low-lying area and chances of flooding are high, we saw rainwater being soaked up by percolation trenches for the first time in many years,” said Aswati Dorje, additional commissioner of police, Naigon.

She added that based on the success of the project, RWH projects in different parts of the city are being revived.

Rainwater harvesting key to Mumbai’s flooding issues: CERE

Experts from non-profit organisation Centre for Environmental Research and Education (CERE) said that rainwater harvesting is a key solution to Mumbai’s flooding problems.

“Recharging the depleted ground water table and underground aquifers also helps prevent the ingress of sea water which is vital for island cities like Mumbai. A number of open wells in the city have become brackish and salty over the past decade as sea water gushes in and corrodes the foundation of our city,” said Rashneh N Pardiwala, founder and director, CERE adding that the project at Naigaon is a prototype of how a community can become self-reliant, more environmentally sustainable and contribute towards improving the city’s environment.

“Other communities like large housing colonies, office complexes, and educational campuses also follow suit in order to save Mumbai city,” said Pardiwala

Apart from RWH, following activities carried out and planned at Naigon:

-52 trees have been planted at the Naigon police camp

-CERE and Mumbai Police next plan to install solar panels on the main Police Community Hall to reduce their carbon footprint

First Published: Nov 20, 2017 10:14 IST