Thursday, May 20, 2010


Most of us are using 'bore well' or 'closed well' water, for flushing toilets, gardening, washing cars and building lobbies. This saves the city lots of good quality drinking water. It is a good thing to do. We do not get any subsidy, nor any benefits for doing this; in fact we have to go thru the cumbersome procedure with the Mun. Ward Office Pest Control Dept., to register our bore well.

It is important, that each housing complex, opens up the concrete apron around their building, in their compound, so that the terrace and compound rain water will drain out into the ground, rather than drain out in the storm water drain. The former will charge the ground in the compound and the latter will be wasted in the ocean. The open strip can be made into a flower bed; however garden edging must be such that the rain water must be able to drain into the ground. The slope of the concrete apron must be suitably adjusted (or grooves cut in it), to allow water drainage into the soil and the flower bed edging must have openings to allow water to flow into the soil. Plants can be nurtured in such open strips to beautify the housing complex.

Let us use the 2100 mm of annual rain to charge our ground so that we get a perineal supply of water from the bore well. The building foundation is not damaged and one does not have to build any storage tank or elaborate piping system. If all the housing complexes do this, all will be charging the ground and all will be using it later in the year. Let us not concrete the entire housing complex compound and forget the ground underneath. Nature demand that we put in that which we want to draw out, same as your bank account. Some of us are already doing this. Let us all propagate this simple method which is almost free.

The downside is that sometimes during very heavy rain showers, that is more than 25 mm rain in one hour, the water will not drain into the ground fast enough and so will collect in pools. It is important to address this issue, by allowing such excess water to drain out into the street storm water drain since it would otherwise cause nuisance to the housing members. Some trap can be arranged .... this is opened to allow excess water to go waste. Do not drain out the water on the road outside, since it will damage the bitumen surface and your housing complex will end up with a damaged road. Let it be understood that water on bitumen roads causes the water to enter the cracks, which causes vapour pockets when the road gets hot, which causes bigger cracks and then breakage to surface seal. The road surface eventually breaks up and low and behold you have 'potholed road'. Such damage can be seen outside housing complexes which are daily draining the water from car washing, on the bitumen road. The road at entrance will be damaged.

Another possible problem could be that the presence of flower beds at the outer edge of the housing complex compound will reduce to some extend the area available for car parking. If this is an issue, then one can cover the open strip with a grilled steel cover so that cars can park and still water can percolate into the ground. It is assumed that the ground has been carefully compacted before building construction was done. Some settlement could occur in the outer rim and the concrete slab could crack if too thin. This needs to be observed.

It is critical that we all use the bountiful rains to the best purpose.Those who have not done so can prepare for the next monsoon. By the way I do not claim any originality to the above, since such solutions are ancient and practised for long in our Bharat.

Article by:
Praful Vora
Mumbai, Maharashtra
(Originally written March 2005).

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