There is no need to go too far to see how rainwater harvesting (RWH) works. Mandovi Motors in Hampanakatta has tried this at its outlets in Adyar and Sullia, as also have St. Aloysius College and Lourdes Central School in Bejai, and all of them are reaping rich benefits.

In a region known for abundant rainfall, very few people would consider water harvesting, said Parshwanath, general manager of Mandovi Motors Pvt. Ltd. But necessity and high cost forced the establishment to consider sustainable options.

“We wash over a hundred vehicles on our premises every day. For a couple of years, we faced shortage of water during the summer and we had to buy water in tankers at high cost to meet our requirement of 30,000 litres a day.”

Objective

The objective of setting up a water harvesting system in 2002 was two-fold, Mr. Parshwanath explained. One, it resolved the water shortage and two, it improved the quality of water.

“Sinking deeper borewells will not solve the problem. We need to consider the environmental impact also. Water harvesting has improved the quality of water in the borewell. For some time before we began re-charging the borewell, we used to get hard water. Due to this, vehicles serviced began developing white patches on the paint and windshield, which could be potentially dangerous as it reduces visibility.” However, those patches have not appeared since. Now, he believes, even other borewells in the immediate surroundings are benefiting from the recharge by the automobile dealer.

Three years ago, the firm set up another workshop in Adyar with a water harvesting system built into the construction design. A year later, the same pattern was followed for the third workshop at Sullia, he said.

Taking inspiration from this example, he said, some customers and friends also approached him to set up similar systems. One such person is the managing director of the dealership, Kishore Rao, who set up the system a few months ago to recharge the open well at his residence. This monsoon will show whether the investment pays off, Mr. Parshwanath says.

Another institution that has incorporated this simple and sustainable water management system into its policy is St. Aloysius College, Mangalore. Principal Sweebert D'Silva said, “Over the last 10 years, we have systematically implemented water harvesting as a part of our policy. Almost all the buildings of the institution, with the exception of the old ones with tiled roof, have good water harvesting systems in place. The water collected from the roofs of these buildings recharges the wells that supply water to the college.”

The institution now meets over half of its water requirement through its own resources, which include wells and small pits dug in strategic places that recharge groundwater.

More In: Mangalore