Mumbai: Underground rain water harvesting to be a game changer

In an attempt to reduce water-logging and recharge groundwater level, a city-based water conservationist has come up with a unique rainwater harvesting technique that uses percolation pits.

The method involves digging a 125-cubic-feet underground holding chamber and partially filling it with pebbles. The chamber also contains a channel to collect water that eventually recharges groundwater. The idea is a brainchild of Subhajit Mukherjee, who is also the ambassador of Maharashtra government’s ‘Majhi Vasundhara Campaign’. Mukherjee is working jointly with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for its widespread implementation.

Mukherjee told Free Press Journal that in municipal wards like G-south (Worli, Prabhadevi) collection chambers of storm water drains are now being transformed into water percolation tanks by consulting him. He said similar pits have been set up in as many as 30 municipal schools in the city. He said it’s a simple method of water harvesting that could be implemented anywhere without much hassle. He added that multiple housing societies have already installed these chambers inside their compounds.

“We dig pits around 10-15 feet away from the building, so that excess water can fall inside these chambers and get stored,” Mukherjee said.

Jeetendra Pardeshi, superintendent of the BMC garden cell said that installing such pits in civic gardens will help restore the damage caused due to receding groundwater level and water-logging during monsoon. Pardeshi said, “We are positive about this plan and have already sent it to higher authorities for approval. We will implement it once we get the permission.”

Besides the BMC, elected public representatives like Aaditya Thackeray are also backing this project. BJP legislator Yogesh Sagar, who pushed the project in his locality, has also vouched for it.

Sagar told FPJ, “These pits can be set up at just one-tenth the price charged by private contractors for making artificial water holding tanks. Many societies in my constituency have implemented this method at a nominal rate.”

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