The year 2016 has almost come to an end—the year of water worries. If you flashback, all we had in this year’s news was water problems—availability or accessibility of water was reported. The monsoon is over and it’s time to start preparing for the coming year. That also means learning from the past and using the experience to plan for future. We thought of asking a few children about their experiences of this scorching summer and what were the lessons they learnt.
Ashima Aggarwal, Class XII, Queen’s Valley School, Dwarka
Rainwater harvesting is one of the cornerstones of sustainable development which existed in our school since the beginning. The system was installed in 2007-08. We have a fully functional rainwater harvesting system in the school premises which is able to harvest rooftop, paved and unpaved areas—the three catchments that are ideal for harvesting rainwater.
We use the harvested water to recharge the groundwater at two points in the premises through recharge pits. Whatever quantity of water is collected is then used for gardening and cleaning. Over the years, the RWH (rainwater harvesting) system has helped us reduce our water bill and dependence on the municipal water supply especially for purposes like gardening and cleaning. It has helped us achieve a sustainable level of groundwater. Our school is aiming to become water-sufficient in the near future.
Ashley Ann Varghese, Class X, Father Agnel School, Noida, UP
The rainwater harvesting system in my school was constructed way back in 2001. For 16 years, we have been harvesting rain from rooftop, paved and partly from unpaved area. The system recharges the groundwater at six points in the premises through recharge wells. We do not store rainwater.
Our average per day water consumption in school is 20,000 litres to cater to a population of over 3,500. My school has managed to ensure a secure availability of groundwater over the years. Hence, it is high time that we maintain the sustainability to rainwater harvesting structures to ensure that the water table is maintained and doesn't deplete due to overextraction. With the help from CSE, we are analysing our rainwater harvesting structure—its performance, maintenance standard, design specification to tap the maximum available rainwater, and arrest the water table depletion.
Abhiir Bhalla, Class X, The Shri Ram School, Moulsari
I have worked with the Shri Paryavaran Club for over five years. I am a keen environmentalist and have worked on inummerable projects and initiatives, such as the CSE Audit, Shri Swachhata, and The Care for Air Student Ambassador Programme.
Being an environmentalist, I take great pride in the numerous environmental initiatives our school has implemented over a period to generate awareness and lead the path towards conservation. One of our key initiatives is the rainwater harvesting system and the water treatment plant. We’ve been involved in this for over 20 years, and the architecture of the school supports the provisions for water conservation through a well-designed rainwater harvesting system. The school is an eco-friendly green building, and has been designed to optimise maximum amount of sunlight and has sufficient catchment areas, like the roof and the playgrounds, to harvest rainwater.
The aqueducts connecting the roof to the ground have been aesthetically designed as a part of the building through tiled wall depressions rather than pipes. The rainwater collected from the roof directly recharges the percolation pits. Even inside the building, there are open courtyards with steps for the water to move down and recharge the groundwater. Our sole aim as of now is to recharge the groundwater aquifer, which is a problem in a city like Gurugram, which suffers from alarming drop in groundwater levels. It is due to this, that we are privileged to support well developed green spaces without consuming the city water supply.
Phurba Ongdup Bhutia, Class X, Sonam Choda Lepcha Memorial Govt. Secondary School, Sikkim
I strongly advocate practising water harvesting. Rainwater harvesting systems should be installed either on an individual basis or community-wise to pre-empt or minimise the water crisis. I have been a part of a water-related awareness drive, an implementation drive, and an environmental audit in our school. We have framed a policy on water that applies for every member of the school. Moreover, every year we have been doing water auditing as per the guidelines provided by CSE and it is found that there is no water crisis in our school in terms of both its availability and accessibility. We have installed a rainwater harvesting system in our school.
Water is one of the most stressed resources on our planet. Severe pollution of surface water sources (rivers, lakes, and wells), depletion and contamination of groundwater, recurring droughts and large-scale mismanagement of water have combined to lead to a situation where experts have begun warning of imminent 'wars over water’. We strongly feel that schools and their students can lead from the front in turning the tide. We want students to discover the forgotten practice of rainwater harvesting and learn to conserve water responsibly. Green Schools Programme (GSP) focus for the year 2016-17 is 'Water and Sanitation'. If you are registered for the GSP Audit don’t forget the deadline November 18, 2016. And if you are not yet registered please log on to www.greenschoolsprogramme.org/registration to register and start auditing your school for water-related issues.