by Sushobhan Chimoriya (Student – BBA)
Everyone can blame the government all they want, deservedly so. But one should never forget that individual efforts do count and do, in fact, add up. One way, an individual can make the difference that counts is by harvesting rainwater to cope up with groundwater decline in this concrete monstrosity called Kathmandu.
#monsoonwisdom is an initiation that tries to document stories of people and organizations successfully harvesting rainwater to inspire and encourage similar minds to adapt to harvesting rainwater in their own houses, offices or other such environments. This hashtag is promoted on Social Medias like Facebook and Instagram with audio-visual aids to ensure maximum promotion.
I learned about #monsoonwisdom as part of my exposure in the Community Service Learning Program CSLP with an organization called GUTHI.
Unsafe underground water leads to death of 44,000 people from water-borne diseases every year.
Kathmandu valley, in particular, suffers the consequences of the lack of management and the pollution of rivers and aquifers. It is an irony that such a small country that has 3000 glaciers and lakes and close to 6000 rivers suffers from water crisis every now and then. The lack of infrastructures and the high level of pollution due to agricultural pesticides, fertilizers and wastewater are the main causes of the problems of lack of water. Unsafe underground water leads to death of 44,000 people from water-borne diseases every year.
Rainwater harvesting is like hitting two birds with one stone; a) You get your water supplies, b) You can fight natural disasters like flooding and landslides as excess water doesn’t get collected and run inside houses and offices. Local communities throughout the world; even some states in India have made it mandatory for newer settlements to have installed rainwater harvesting systems. A complete rainwater harvesting system consists of a mechanism that includes rainwater collection for using and then groundwater recharging. You can use collected rainwater for every single purpose, it just needs to be purified. And then the remaining water can be discharged into a well or if you live in a concrete jungle, you can dig a hole in the ground and discharge it there. Both way the soil will absorb it and us humans will get our supply of groundwater.
#monsoonwisdom as an initiation that plans to share the stories of people successfully installing rainwater harvesting systems and units in their house settings or work settings. This especially helps people realize how easy it is to be harvesting rainwater and inspire them to do it themselves. It even shares the numbers of the systems like the catchment area, the volume of water collected and the cost of installation. This makes it really easy to look at the stories and see if applying any of the systems described in these stories matches someone’s exact needs.
A number of people have shared their stories of how harvesting rainwater has made their life easier and has allowed them to contribute to the environment. Sabina Matangi, the Nepali partner of Betterfelt describes how harvesting rainwater led her company to cut down on tanker costs saving water for others, reducing the carbon footprints of tankers and much more.
Even if they are not contributing, they are not deteriorating the current situation. Many other people have come up to share their stories or have been inspired by the stories after looking through stories mentioned in #monsoonwisdom.
Shanti Byanjarkar from Natol has been harvesting rainwater for five years now which has slowly and gradually helped her fight the water crisis in her area. She uses a white felt sheet which she has spread on her terrace which collects rainwater, filters it little by little after which water is sent into tanks of varying capacities to boil and use whenever needed. She and her family then use the water hence collected for cleaning, washing and even drinking purposes. This has eliminated the need for her family to order a tanker every month. This small yet effective process is economical and fits just right for her small family. She believes rainwater harvesting is a necessity rather than a mere hobby that these hippie environmentalists have.
After having been associated in publicizing this very informative initiation, I was able to understand the ongoing water crisis in Kathmandu Valley in a better frame and realize what measures can be taken to cope up with this crisis.