Sustainability lesson from an octogenarian

At his house in Krishnapuri, Lakshman Rao maintains water storage systems, a composting unit for his garden and a mini solar power unit

Chennai is now on the brink of a severe water crisis. Resources are fast depleting and the city is worried about getting through the tough summer.

But Lakshman Rao, an octogenarian, is confident of tiding over the crisis. This R.A. Puram resident is banking his confidence on a whole lot of things he has done over the years.

Lakshman Rao points out that the Metrowater supply is erratic. However, there are enough “reserves” to help him, he says.

He says he built rainwater harvesting structures at his house, which is in Krishnapuri, well before RWH structures became a mandate. There is a 60-feet-deep well, besides a borewell. The well is periodically maintained, he says, and now it has water at 30-feet.

Sustainability lesson from an octogenarian

“The rainwater from the terrace is diverted through pipelines into five collection points around the house. Some of the rainwater is sent back to the soil where my coconut, mango, jackfruit and lemon trees and plants are growing. The water that goes to soil not only nurtures the trees but also boosts groundwater.”

There is a sump that is filled with harvested rainwater.

“You may be wondering why I have so many water storage systems in place, but I think it is important to conserve every drop of water in whatever way we can. I am not dependent on Metrowater supply and I have kept the water in the sump as reserve in case of an emergency. For now, the water from the well and borewell is enough to sustain our family of five,” he says.

Composting facility

He composts the dry leaves and kitchen waste and the manure is used as fertiliser for the trees and plants. “I switched to organic gardening around 10 years ago. I wanted to avoid chemicals at any cost. Ever since I started using organic manure in my garden, the fruit and coconut harvests have been bountiful,” he adds.

A staunch believer in a sustainable lifestyle, the senior citizen also harnesses solar energy. He says he installed a solar panel at his terrace 22 years ago and it cost him only ₹14,000 then. “I bought the solar panels at a subsidised rate under a government scheme.”

Lakshman Rao and his ongoing sustainability projects.

Lakshman Rao and his ongoing sustainability projects.  

The urgent message that this 80-year-old has for his fellow citizens is this: protect nature, in your home, in your street, town or city. “If you protect nature, it will protect you in times of trouble.”

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 10:49:55 PM |

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