08 March, 2021

Chennai Harvest

How some residents in Chennai are successfully conserving water.

Dry Days
People queue up for water in Chennai
Photograph by PTI
Chennai Harvest

While tankers ferry water to meet the daily needs of the residences of Tamil Nadu’s ministers and high court judges on Greenways Road in South Chennai, there is a ­colony of more than 100 flats across the road that is self-sufficient in its water needs. The residents of Hiranya Apartments make do with a well that they have assiduously protected, ­maintained and recharged over three decades.

“We have two borewells too, but they are used only after making sure that every drop of rainwater gets ­recharged into the ground. We have kept the water level in the well above five feet, even during the current ­crisis, by cutting the daily supply by almost 40 per cent,” says Raghunandan, secretary of the Hiranya flat owners’ association.

The almost six-acre area of the complex is pockmarked with recharge pits of varying depths. There is a cement grating on the two main gates that traps the water and sends it to another set of recharge pits. “Not a drop is wasted,” says estate ­manager Rajesh. “This is possibly one...

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