By Marianne de Nazareth
It’s been weeks, no months and we have been waiting anxiously for the rain in Bangalore, India. By now we are usually awash with almost daily downpours through June and July and there is plenty of rain all round, to have the gardens and roads, all washed and sparkling of the regular dust and grime, in this Asian city.
This year however, Climate Change has been lurking in the back ground, and finally exploded in our faces, granting us dry and sunny days through June and July, with just the odd sprinkling of a shower. Where were our monsoons? The farmers ae worried, the met station is in depair and Karnataka is going to consider declaring our state in a state of drought. Are we heading for a catastrophic drought scenario, everyone wondered.
Fresh water is hard to come by for so many new million homes that have sprouted up across the outskirts of Bangalore. Its frightening because there are more buildings and homes to cater to than there is fresh water.
Frighteningly, a sort of water mafia has taken over Bangalore city now, deciding the astronomical rates to be paid for fresh water tankers. How are people to live? They have to fork out this money and these greedy shadowy figures have held the city to ransom. The government turns a blind eye as they cannot supply more water to cater to these homes. What used to cost Rs 150 a few years ago for a tanker of water, now costs anywhere from Rs350 to Rs 500 in the city of Bangalore.
But there is a silver lining in the midst of this looming crisis situation. Yes! the government of Karnataka has made it mandatory for new buildings to build and maintain, Rain Water Harvesting systems. They will not be issued certificates of possession, unless this is adhered to which is an excellent move. For me as a journalist who has been writing on RWH for years, it was a positive move and in the right direction. Only by making measures like these mandatory will people spend on installing RWH mechanisms which cost money and which they do not want to spend.
Two years ago there was money left over after a seminar in college and I told the director that the money should be used to install a RWH system in the college. The principal then was a far thinking man. He added to the 20 thousand we had saved, along with the college contribution which was over one lakh and installed a large tank and RWH piping for the building.
Last night it rained and it rained like the monsoons had finally come. There were roars of welcome thunder and brilliant flashes of lightening, which is music to my ears. I stood at the windows of our home and thought of all the RWH tanks merrily filling up across the city. My face lit up because instead of the precious water just running down roads and flooding low lying areas, at least some of the precious water was being harvested across the city.
In my mind the huge tank in college floated up and there was a joyous feeling that it was going to be filled that night, hearing the welcome force with which the rain was drumming on my roof. The water is used to clean the toilets, water the gardens and wash the common areas in the college. It was a great feeling and I wonder how many Bangaloreans across the city felt the same way as I did.
Marianne de Nazareth
(registered PhD scholar, Madurai Kamraj University, adjunct faculty, St Joseph’s College and COMMITS and freelance web and print journalist.)
Photographs by Marianne de Nazareth