According to the proverb, it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. An inventive scientist puts this adage to good use by harvesting rainwater rather than blaming the municipal authorities for erratic water supply or being concerned about depleting groundwater levels.
Throughout the year, he has an abundance of pure water. He doesn’t have to pay water bills, which is a plus for him. What a brilliant idea!
Meet Murli Sharma, a retired ICRISAT scientist who was encouraged to go into water conservation by his mother. Sharma has been collecting rainwater for his household needs for the past 27 years. He claims that water conservation is a simple technique that every household should implement for a better future.
Sharma is rejecting conventional methods in favour of the tried-and-true method of meeting water needs with rainwater. He has never felt the need to dig a well or bore well until today. Who built a water sump that holds 1.25 lakh litres of rainwater, spends very little money on buying water for his daily needs.
Sharing his experience with Neo science hub, “Murli, who is from the Rajasthan city of Jodhpur, says he has never experienced such a severe water shortage, even though Jodhpur is known to receive rainfall as low as 2-3mm. “I grew up in Jodhpur, which has much less rainfall than Hyderabad. But I never felt the need to fetch potable water as a child, and I never had any problems in my neighbourhood. “However, when I moved to Hyderabad in 1977, I saw for the first time in an urban area that water scarcity can be a major issue,” he says.
Water scarcity arose as a result of the supply system being designed for a population that did not appear to be multiplying exponentially. When Murli moved to Hyderabad in the early 1990s, the population was nearly 30 lakh, and the water supply system could only support a population of 10 lakh. “During that time when my parents were visiting me my mother pointed out that if I wanted to settle here, it would make sense for me to build a house like I did in ancient times in Rajasthan.”To conserve rain water from the roof of the house, store it in the open court yard of the house in a large tank,” Murli, a botanist and ecologist, recalls.
Murli built himself a house in Hyderabad in 1995, with the intention of collecting rainwater. He built a tank beneath the house instead of an open courtyard.
Talking about inspiration
Murli stated that his mother inspired him to pursue the idea of water conservation. “I got the idea from my mother. I began conserving water using a traditional method in which rainwater from the roof falls through a PVC pipe and is passed through a single brick filter before being stored in the sump.”
Murli decided to save rainwater from the roof and store it below the house in an underground tank at a time when rainwater harvesting was merely a theoretical approach in areas such as Hyderabad, which has abundant rainfall, with an average rainfall of 800mm annually. With average rainfall, the roof collects nearly 1.25 lakh litres of rainwater per year. The house is built in such a way that rainwater from the roof falls through a PVC pipe, passes through a filter, and enters a large underground tank with a capacity of over one lakh litres.
Talking about water testing
He even tested the quality of rain water in his lab and discovered that it was superior to municipal water. The underground tank is located where there is no sunlight, the water does not promote the growth of algae and other plants that contaminate it. The water stored in the tank is used all year for drinking, cooking, and general household purposes. We do not boil this water; instead, we use it straight from the tank. And the used water is disposed of in the soak pit,” he explained.
He believes that if even 50-60% of houses in Hyderabad lead their used water into stock pits, the city will have very stable ground water. “We citizens do not realize the value of water, as it is a highly subsidized commodity in our country. Water is an issue that affects every citizen, not just the government. “The general public must step forward, take action, and help ourselves,” he adds.
Murli Sharma describes his neighbor’s house, where the roof had accumulated enough water to become a hazard to deal with. The two devised a plan to divert rainwater from the neighbor’s property to Murli’s underground tank.
We receive 2.5 lakh litres of rainwater during a normal rainfall season, which is more than enough. Last year, for example, I pumped out about 20,000 litres of water. Water conservation is a simple technique that every household should implement, according to Murli Sharma. Murli, who had always wanted to build an eco-friendly house, made certain that the house was built with as little cement as possible and mud bricks, which helps the house stay cool during the summer.
– Rashmi M
Neo Science Hub