Ram Krishnan is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology [IIT] Chennai. Visiting it on one of his annual trips to India, Ram found a list of ironies. IITs are leaders in producing cutting edge technologists. In IIT-Chennai there are 3000 students in 12 hostels named after India's famed rivers. The campus is on 640 acres of wooded land. Yet the institution had to close two months extra recently because water ran out. Following some advocacy by Ram, hostels got steadily rigged for RWH and the water supplies now last longer without having to buy in. Read the full story here
Another Chennai man who is taking the RWH mission seriously is K R Gopinath, an engineer - businessman. His house is something of a RWH perfection. He has also taken the idea to industries in and around Chennai. Many of the TVS group industries, Wimco, Stahl, BEL, Godrej and Boyce -it's growing list- have installed RWH schemes.
There had been older, passive, no-cost methods of harvesting rain water. Once there had been ponds in most villages that supplied drinking water. But just as much of urban India has suffered a disconnection between milk and cows' udders, the laudable objective of Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission for rural India has caused a disconnection between water-supply and ponds. The Mission has taken away personal responsibility for water management and made its supply, the duty of panchayats and block development Officers.
Bore-wells will deliver water, just as plastic pouches deliver milk, was the emerging belief. As a result, these ponds ['oorani' in Tamil] have been neglected and silted over. Ram Krishnan, decided to revive an oorani in Vilathikulam in Thoothukkudi district. He found a thoroughly professional partner in Dhan Foundation in Madurai to help him design the project and a small local group Vidiyal Trust to implement it. Dhan had pioneered what is becoming known as the Edaiyur model, after the first village that revived and modernised an oorani. People, the village panchayat, the government, a guide [eg Dhan] and a donor are all involved. Everyone contributes. In Vilathikulam, the official piped water is unreliable, but the dredged and dressed up oorani, has revived pride and sense of security. Pumps and pipes are still used but the water source is not some bore-well but the visible oorani. [Download a beautifully illustrated report]