For a city that is struggling to raise its groundwater level, four rows of pavilions put up by schools, colleges, corporate houses and Government agencies provide valuable lessons in rain water harvesting and judicious use of water.
Siruthuli, the public initiative for water resources conservation, has got up an exposition on rain water harvesting. Titled “Siruthuli Peruvellam… Andrum Indrum”, it has on display the harvesting structures of both ancient and modern times. The expo will be on till Sunday.
What strikes the public -- and possibly make elders feel guilty of ignoring the concept of water harvest -- is the enthusiasm with which school students have prepared models of rain water harvesting.
Managing Trustee of Siruthuli Vanitha Mohan said a few days ago that the expo concept was mooted by the students.
Harvesting models for individual buildings and agricultural belts, desalination plants and devices to produce water from air; the list goes on.
At the entrance is a 600 sq.ft. model of the Noyyal River Basin. It depicts the river and the canals and tanks that come under the basin. The model also shows how the clean the river is at the point of its origin at Madhwarayapuram or Kooduthurai, and how it becomes increasingly polluted by industrial effluents as it nears Coimbatore city. The pollution in Tirupur and Orathupalayam is also shown.
Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam inaugurated on Saturday the expo by joining children in pouring urns-full of clean water into the river. After he left the venue advising the students to spread the message of rain water harvesting, they took up this task at their pavilions first and promised to take it beyond the venue of the expo.
Explaining how rain water falling on the terrace of a house could be harvested, R. Anita, a student of GRD-CPF Matriculation School, said she was happy to be part of a campaign to avoid water scarcity. Students and teachers of Ksir's International School have put up the model of a well from the Harappan times.
“We want to tell people that there were good drainage and rain water harvesting system even 4,500 years ago,” Principal of the school Lalitha Prakash said.
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Class XI student K.S. Ananthakrishnan passionately explained how a desalination plant worked.
“Our country is a peninsula, with sea on three sides. Therefore, we should desalinate sea water for drinking purposes. This will reduce the stress on our inland and ground water resources,” he said.
Nearby, his schoolmate S. Vigneshwar told the people about a technology that could produce water from air.
Rain water harvesting in a hilly terrain to irrigate various types of crops is on display at the pavilion of C.M.S. Matriculation Higher Secondary School.
The Central Ground Water Board, which now funds Siruthuli's rain water harvesting project in the city, has a model of a sub-surface check dam that can keep the ground water level high and help in stepping up agricultural activities.
“We have implemented this in some districts, including Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri,” Assistant Hydrogeologist at the board's office in Chennai K.A. Nambi said. As for the expo, he said he was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm with which the students had come up with various exhibits.