Friday, May 18, 2007

Harvesting Water

In a world where water is starting to become a precious resource, you can imagine the water crisis in a country like India where the population crossed the 1B mark a couple of years ago and industrial growth is accelerating. The establishment of large campuses by global multi-national firms and the explosive growth in massive residential complexes to house the growing affluent and the returning NRIs have increased demands on scarce water resources. In an earlier posting, I had written about the dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu regarding the distribution of the Cauvery river. This sort of issue is not limited to this part of the country but is seen all over.

While travelling through Kerala a few weeks ago, I learnt about the phenomenon of Water Harvesting - which gave me a lot of hope. Kerala appears to have a highly developed system and infrastructure for harvesting rain water. The system involves capturing rain water from rooftops, capturing water from seasonal flood waters etc., purifying it and using it for a variety of purposes such as drinking water, irrigation, cleaning etc.

This technique has been extended to "Grey" and "Black" water harvesting. Grey water refers to used wash water from bath, shower, sink etc., while Black water refers to water containing fecal waste. To my amazement, techniques have been developed and perfected to harvest both Grey and Black water as well so that it can be recycled for a variety of functions.

It is heartening to see the efforts, foresight and leadership being made in this area to help in water conservation and recycling efforts!

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