Rainwater harvesting pits being constructed at ward no. 23 of Nagawara
Rainwater harvesting pits being constructed at ward no. 23 of NagawaraAmal Rasheedali

In the troublesome times of acute water crisis in Bengaluru, the civic authorities of Nagawara (ward 23) have set an example for the entire city by building rainwater harvesting pits to tackle the water shortage in the area.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) corporator Irshad Begam, along with her husband and co-ordinator Kaleem Pasha, is responsible for developing the ward from dust. Nagawara is the first ward in Bengaluru where rainwater harvesting system has been initiated by the civic authorities on a broad scale.

Ever since the BBMP corporator took charge in 2010, she has ensured proper management of the resources, for water to be available to everybody in the area. Nagawara has been facing severe water shortage for a while. But under the leadership of Irshad Begam, the area has seen some major developments.

BBMP corporator Irshad Begam and her husband  Kaleen Pasha
BBMP corporator Irshad Begam and her husband Kaleem Pasha

For the recent construction of the rainwater harvesting system, the BBMP authorities first identified the area where the rainwater is flowing. Based on that, the pits were made at several points.

Kaleem Pasha told International Business Times, India, "In 1 km distance between Govindpura junction to the main road, we have installed 5 rainwater harvesting pits based on the accessibility of water. Since its slope road, it is easy to collect the water and all the pits can conserve up to 5,000 litres of water."

The system has been constructed with the cost of Rs 50,000 to 60,000 per harvesting pit. Around 30 pits have been constructed so far and many are under construction. Most of these pits are constructed near the areas where dried up borewells were situated as a 6-inch pipe was already dug in the ground, said Pasha.

Excess water from the dispensers (water ATM) will flow to the rainwater harvesting pit
Excess water from the dispensers (water ATM) will flow to the rainwater harvesting pitAmal Rasheedali

The pits have also been built near other water resources, like the drinking water dispensers (water ATM) made by BBMP, for the excess water to flow into the pit. These pits are linked with Mosques, which discharges minimal wastewater for the believers use for ablution.

Begam and her husband conduct monthly ward meetings along with the ward members and resident welfare associations to understand the civic issues. Together, with the help of citizens, they find remedies.

Although several cost-effective solutions, like rainwater harvesting for recharging the groundwater table, are available to counter the water crisis, none have been implemented in the city. And Nagawara has shown Bengaluru a sustainable and cost-effective way to counter the water crisis.