At a time when attempts are made to revive rainwater harvesting (RWH) structures, a city hotel has been silently reaping the benefits of the concept and saving big on water over the past 10 years.

Ajantha Hotel, situated close to the Central Bus Stand in the city, had successfully revived a massive open well by putting up RWH structures on its premises. The well, which had almost gone dry then, had been meeting a major portion of the water requirements of the 170-room hotel, its restaurant, and a marriage hall over the past decade. The well is full of water now even after last year’s monsoon failure and the absence of heavy rainfall so far this year. The hotel, established in 1966, is one of the oldest in the city.

The hotel had created two RWH structures, — one to harvest water from the roof of its marriage hall building spread over about 6,400 square feet and another for a block of 3,000 square feet. The structures include a filter bed where pebbles, charcoal, and sand had been used to filter the rainwater. Both the structures feed the open well.

“Our management created the structures at a substantial investment about 10 years ago during the previous AIADMK regime when rainwater harvesting was promoted in a big way. The open well on our hotel premises, which was on the verge of being closed, was connected to a couple of RWH structures. Today, the benefits are obvious and a major portion of our water requirement is met from the well,” said T. Sundara Ramanujam, manager of the hotel.

The over 90-foot deep well now has more than 50 feet of water and even during the height of the summer this year, it had up to 25 feet of water. This has contributed to the recharge of the groundwater in the area surrounding the hotel, he said.

The RWH system at the hotel had become so much of a success that it was projected as a model in the city by the corporation and visited by officials, experts, and representatives of voluntary organisations.

The hotel used to buy about 15 tankers (of 12,000 each) of water from outside on an average every day. “Currently, we are using our own tanker lorry for getting just about four loads a day and that too only for emergency purpose or as a stand by. We are saving on buying nearly 12 tankers of water, which used to cost Rs. 350 about 10 years ago. Today, it costs Rs. 850 a tanker. Even if we calculate it at Rs. 750 a tanker, we are saving Rs. 9,000 a day and about Rs. 2.70 lakh a month,” Mr. Ramanujam said.

Buoyed by the success of the initiative, the hotel’s managing partner A. Venugopal plans to improve on and expand the rainwater system.