Self-help for water has become a major civic activity in Chennai. Temple tanks,those munificences of wise old kings, are being spruced up in Chennai. The Rotary Club helped revive the Kasi Viswanathan temple tank in Aynavaram. The state has desilted and repaired tanks at the Kapaleeswarar and Parthasarathy Perumal temples. But possibly the finest example of people's action is the revival of the 5.5 acre Surya Amman temple tank at Pammal. Mangalam Balasubramanian, an adviser for Danida, has galvanised citizens and local businesses to raise Rs.12 lakhs to restore the splendid tank. Pammal has tasted success and keeps on doing more.
From waste to gray:
Currently in Chennai, water recycling is the big new buzz. Residents are cleaning up and reusing wash waterin toilets and gardens. Alacrity Foundations, one of Chennai's most conscientious builders who installed RWH systems long before the ordinance was issued, is now installing systems to recycle grey water. They believe, over 80% of the water that flows into the sewage can be reused. Hearteningly, there is a steady flow of recycling success stories in Chennai.
Chennai Petroleum, a large refinery and a heavy consumer of water has pioneered an exemplary recycling model. It actually pays Chennai municipal corporation Rs 8 per kilo litre of sewage. After letting it settle in holding tanks, it uses reverse osmosis to filter out solids. The resulting water is 98.8% and good enough to be used as process water. The sludge is let into vermicompost beds to produce manure that is used to maintain the vast campus, lush and green. The scale of operation is enormous: 1,500,000 litres an hour or 40% of the refinery's needs. It's a win-win solution for the city, the business and the environment. The project has generated great interest among other industries.