The group will take walks in their neighbourhood to inspect rainwater harvesting structures

A group of socially-conscious residents have got together to promote water conservation in the city through rainwater harvesting.

Save Water and Recharge Aquifers Network (SWARAN), a citizen’s group was formed a month ago by like-minded residents who want to educate people about freshwater conservation and urge government agencies to harness rainwater from public places and roads.

The group will take walks in their neighbourhood to inspect rainwater harvesting structures and sensitise people about its role in solving the water crisis.

So far, the group has already submitted four petitions, urging the Chennai Corporation to replace stormwater drains with rainwater harvesting structures, as the drains release excess water that could be conserved, into the sea. Nearly 250 residents of south Chennai have joined the initiative.

SWARAN’s coordinator, Ramshankar said: “How can the government ask houses to conserve rainwater, while at the same time, allowing roads to drain it away?”

If rainwater is harnessed on a plot spanning 2,400 sq.ft., about 2.8 lakh litres of water can be saved every year. Nearly one-third of rainwater from roads can also be harnessed. “Even in this near-drought situation, I manage with groundwater because I have been harvesting rainwater for a decade,” said Ramshankar, a resident of R.A. Puram.

Another volunteer, Sreedhar Subramanian, a resident of Valmiki Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur, said that a neighbourhood walk in the area revealed that a handful of the 100 buildings have poorly maintained structures and awareness on harvesting runoff from driveways is low.

“We will sensitise people about their rights to fresh water and techniques to conserve it. We also plan to survey the stormwater drain network in various areas,” said R.V. Giridhar, a resident of Gandhi Nagar.

However, members said the Chennai Corporation is yet to respond to their petitions.

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