A 76-year-old retired government pathologist’s simple yet innovative method of rainwater harvesting will ensure uninterrupted water supply to the district’s highest government office complex, the Civil Station.
The complex, which employs over a thousand staff across several departments, will use the pure, filtered rainwater provided through C. Balakrishnan Nair’s brainchild — the rooftop fibre tank method of rainwater harvesting.
The two-model units, which will filter a total of 5,000 litres of rainwater in three tanks, were built using Rs.1.8 lakh drawn from the District Collector’s Innovation Fund. This is the first phase of the project.
Water is captured using a layman technique. Fibre sheet roof of the complex would trap rainwater and direct it into PVC pipes leading to the fibre tanks. Covering the opening of the fibre tanks are porous aluminium containers. Water is filtered through clay, charcoal, gravel, and sand into the tanks.
There is no need of electricity to pump water. District administration believes it can harvest 3.6 lakh litres of water this year. But for Dr. Balakrishnan Nair, who retired from the Government Medical College, Kozhikode, this is sweet revenge for the years of humiliation he suffered trying to convince the Corporation officials and the water authority about his innovation.
“I thought they would be interested in conserving water in a water-starved city. They just could not care. For many educated people here, water conservation is like rocket science. They prefer to pay for water or buy it in bottles rather than make use of the ample rainfall,” he said.
His luck changed when the method caught the attention of former District Collector P.B. Salim.
The Collector’s letters got positive responses from the Chief Minister and the Water Resources Department, compelling local officials to sit up and take notice.
Dr. Balakrishnan Nair says it was chronic water shortage back home that got him interested in rainwater conservation seven years ago. Today, his house collects 11,000 litres of harvested rainwater for domestic use.
Dr. Balakrishnan Nair, who oversaw the installation of the model units at the Collectorate, says this model is apt for limited urban spaces.