Let’s pay attention to AR Shivakumar who says, “We should learn to keep the rains in our homes.” A.R. Shivakumar is a senior fellow and principal investigator- RWH, Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.
Shivakumar has his reasons. Bengaluru’s entire population (urban and rural) has to depend on the Cauvery waters. Karnataka can draw only 682.5 million litres a day of Cauvery waters which it shares with Tamil Nadu. But the requirement for just Bangalore (urban and rural) is 1,400 million litres per day or 18 thousand million cubic feet (TMC). “To meet this 18 TMC limit, rain water harvesting is the answer,” Shivakumar told Forbes in 2013.
He put his beliefs into practice and tested the concept in his house 22 years ago. Shivakumar has not paid the corporation for water in the past 22 years, as he is self-sufficient. “First, we listed the requirements for a house: energy, good comfort living, air, water,” he says. “We found to our surprise that the answer is with nature and not with the KEB (Karnataka Electricity Board), BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board), etc.,” said Shivakumar.
First, Shivakumar built a roof tank with a 5,000 litre capacity. On the ground floor, he built another 5,000 litre capacity tank, which catches most of the rain water – no other tank catches rain water as this tank. On his portico, he built the biggest tank of 25,000 litre capacity, and then building his garage two-and-a-half feet above ground level, he built another 10,000 litre tank. Each tank has a pop-up filter, which Shivakumar has a patent for. It is marketed as the Rain Tap Pop-up filter in Gujarat. This filter removes all the mud, muck and other particles from rain water. The overflow from the tank goes to the portico tank, which ultimately sends it to the garage tank. The garage tank is the only tank that uses electricity to pump water to the roof tank.
The entire house runs on the ground floor tank, which has a capacity of 5,000 litres, whereas the portico and garage tanks serve as storage tanks for water when there is a gap in rainfall. He also ensures appliances like washing machine reuse waste water. Shivakumar has trained several architects and contractors to integrate such water systems in new constructions.