Author: Shikha Shah
In our previous post – Water Conservation Methods in India, we showcased some of the best traditional water conservation techniques, in this post we have covered some of the innovative water conservation practices. Let’s have a look at the list of some modern innovative water conservation techniques that have been developed in India in recent times:
Rooftop Rain Water Harvesting
All of us who directly consume water are the most important stakeholders in managing water. While many of us urbanites use or waste a lot of water, we rarely make an effort to conserve it. Fortunately, the rainwater harvesting method has provided a solution that can be practiced easily in every household. It is a simple model where the roof acts as a catchment for rainfall, which after flowing through a series of filters and pipes is stored in ground-level containers for direct use or recharged into ground water. Given below is a simple formula to calculate the water that can be collected from your rooftop.
Tech Specs Table
Rain water harvested (in cubic meter) = roof area (square meter)*average annual rainfall (mm)*runoff coefficient
|Type of Catchment||Runoff Coefficient|
|Roof top||0.75 – 0.95|
|Paved Area||0.50 – 0.85|
|Bare Ground||0.10 – 0.20|
|Green Area||0.05 – 0.10|
This is a low-cost alternative for expensive water harvesting containers made of masonry, plastic and RCC. It has proved highly effective in high rainfall regions where large amount of water need to stored in clean form. These tanks requiring materials like sand, cement, mild steel bar and galvanized iron wire mesh, can be easily constructed by semi skilled labours. It’s light in weight and can be moulded into any shape required. It is believed to last for around 25 years with little maintenance. Picture above shows a ferro-cement tank under construction. It can be appropriate for use in Indian villages and disaster prone areas as its fireproof and tough in build.
Cycle Run Water Pumps
A saver of time and cost of electricity and fuel, this technology utilizes human power generated by pedalling a bicycle to lift water from streams, ponds, canals and wells. When the cycle is pedalled, it creates an up and down motion of pistons which pressurizes water flow to an outlet. A portable model which can be installed on site has also been developed. Designed for small-scale farmers who don’t have the capacity to afford costly diesel rum motors, this arrangement can bring a flow of 100 litres per minute. The complete unit made of cast iron and aluminium costs around INR2500 to 7000.
These pumps have also supported women, kids and old people who at times found operating hand pumps in bend position a strenuous task. Some models have replaced bicycle by steppers (commonly seen if gyms), making pumping water a healthy and fun activity. In India, it was conceptualized by poor farmer from a village of West Bengal, Nasiruddin Gayen in 1980s. Xylam water solutions, a Vadodra based company is also designing and selling this innovation. If made applicable in urban areas, this concept can do wonders in making people realize importance of water and lose some calories too.
See-saw Joy Pumps
Ever imagined filling up an overhead tank by kids playing around? This innovation was designed to mitigate water scarcity problems in villages with no clean surface water source, no electricity and poor monetary capacity. Attached below a merry-go-round wheel or a see-saw, is an arrangement similar to a conventional hand pump. As children ride on these wheels, groundwater is drawn and tank (around 8-10 meters above ground) is filled. It can also be used to pump water from bore wells and large storage tankers. It can be installed even at far off places and has easy maintenance. It’s basically a community structure and can be set up in schools, parks, villages and relief camps. It has been used in developing countries like India and Africa. Span Pumps, a Pune based company is designing such pumps in India.
Rain Water Syringe
Most of the open wells and tube wells in coastal areas contain salty water due to seepage of seawater. Rainwater harvesting is a viable option for solving the issue of drinking water, but the construction of rainwater overhead tanks is unaffordable for marginal farmers. Antoji in Kerala has innovated a cost-effective method for harvesting rainwater in coastal areas. Rainwater is collected from the roof tops of houses and stored in a pressure tank on the ground and with the help of PVC pipes, water is lowered below sea level (16-24 feet). The water is retained in the underground water column which is then harvested during summer by a simple piston pump or motor by constructing a tube well in the vicinity. It has proved successful in diluting recharging ground water in coastal areas of Kerela and Antoji has installed 150 tanks in different parts of Kerala.
This innovation comes from a foreign visitor who was inspired by women from villages of Rajasthan, who carried round earthen pots for long distances in hot weather. This invention has made carrying water not only an effortless but fun activity. It is a round wheel-shaped storage tanker with an attached handle to provide painless mobility. It has already become popular in villages of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Designed to reduce drudgery and save time for working women, the water wheel can store up to 50 litres of water in hygienic conditions. It’s designed for endure rough terrains and made from high quality poly carbonate. But it is not affordable, costing around INR2,000. It was innovated by a US-based social entrepreneur, Cynthia Koeing under an organisation called Wello.