Sample this `Anna Nagar experiment'

Rainwater harvesting — the clouds will come, but is the city ready?

Rainwater harvesting — the clouds will come, but is the city ready?  

RAINWATER HARVESTING. ``Too much talk but little action on the ground.'' That is the cold reality. Any objective analyst would also point out that the administration's track record of ``social marketing'' in this regard is abysmal.

But, there are public-spirited citizens, who have an excellent record by now, more than what Metrowater, with all its paraphernalia, has been able to show for itself.

Last month, the Exnora Club of Anna Nagar conducted a survey on the depth and quality of groundwater in 15 locations where RWH structures have been put up. Perhaps, the official water agency too is carrying out a similar exercise. But, the difference is that the ``Anna Nagarites'' have made public the findings of their survey.

The most important message that the study has sent out: ``adopt RWH in your premises. It's one sure way of improving quality of your water''.

This, then is the Anna Nagar experiment. Water samples were drawn from the locations, representative of the entire locality. Consider this: the samples were tested at Metrowater's laboratory and there should thus be no quarrel about figures!

Important questions have been posed as part of the exercise. Does the groundwater level stand within a comfortable zone? The depth of water now varies from three to five metres in all the locations.

But, not everything is perfect. Just three out of the 15 have `good water'. Only in these three places, water samples have fulfilled norms of 16 parameters, adopted for testing. And, they become fit enough for direct human consumption, if disinfected properly.

The `luckiest persons' are residents of Thangam Colony and F and G Blocks of Anna Nagar East.

The cutting edge for determining the samples as high or low or medium potable quality is the concentration of total dissolved solids (TDS). Say, a sample is classified as high potable quality if the TDS level is less than 500 mg/l. The outer limit is 2000 mg/l.

N.K. Kuttiappan, environment specialist connected with the study, says tools are already available in the market to improve the quality of water and some of them are put to effective household application. ``The demand for such gadgets will increase with the public showing greater awareness on water'', he feels.

The ``Anna Nagarites'' are not going to remain content with this survey alone. One more study will be held in January as an on-going measure, says V. Hariharan, chairman (co-ordination group) of the Exnora Club.

Not only that, to make the public more aware of water quality concerns, to promote the benefits of RWH and highlight utility aspects of various household water purification gadgets, an exhibition has been planned for September.

Will Metrowater draw any lesson from this initiative of the city's taxpayers?

By Ramakrishnan T.

Photo: K. Pichumani

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