Conserving water should be high on the agenda for every individual in the country especially in light of depleting ground water and natural resources. Seventy-two-year-old N Arunachalam from Madurai is doing just that. The former chief engineer has been conserving rainwater for the past 30 years, thereby up to 16,000 litres annually and hasn’t paid a water bill for the period.

Out of the 16,000 litres of water saved annually, the family uses only 8,000 litres while the rest is used by two of his tenants.

N Arunachala showing his rainwater harvesting setup (Image: The Hindu)

It all started in 1985 when Arunachalam decided to build his home. As part of the construction he also built the required infrastructure to conserve rainwater, through a technique called gravity flow. In his house, the process starts from the roof and goes all the way down to the groundwater table recharging it.

Arunachalam explained, “The collected water is directed to a filter chamber for the purpose of filtration. Rainwater passes through three layers of filtration – fine sand, charcoal and finally pebbles. With the help of gravity, the filtered water is directed to the underground sump. The motor pumps water from the underground sump, which is the storage tank to the overhead tank installed on our roof,” reports NDTV.

According to him, a filtration tank with pebbles, and fine sand mixed with charcoal powder, built below the roof will help the purpose. In addition, an overhead collection tank will help to supply water to the kitchen as well.

The filter setup (Image: NDTV)

Also, the collected water is later used for cooking and drinking purposes with the help of candles and boiling. In a conversation with The Hindu, Arunachalam said,

“My overhead tank is an ATM and the tap at the kitchen is the debit card that can be used anytime. The sump is a savings bank account, the overflowing water that recharges groundwater is a fixed account. In a way, it is also a community service by helping neighbours to get good potable water.”

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