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From 'Insane' to 'Innovative', How This Assam Engineer Planned to Tackle Looming Water Crisis

By: Tulika Devi

News18

Last Updated: July 04, 2019, 23:10 IST

From 'Insane' to 'Innovative', How This Assam Engineer Planned to Tackle Looming Water Crisis

The engineer says when he started working on his rainwater harvesting mechanism at his Sorumotoria house in Guwahati, his neighbors considered him to be out of his senses. However, today his innovation is deemed to be the need of the hour.

Guwahati: Few years ago he was considered insane by his neigbours, but Assam’s Pratul Bharali proved them wrong with his farsightedness and innovation. The junior engineer in the Public Health Department of Assam thought in 2014 what the policy makers of the country are thinking today.

As the dark monsoon clouds gather over the eastern skies in Guwahati, Bharali becomes jubilant. The rains ensure that he would have 5,000 liters of water for consumption and domestic use for the eight members of his family and other eight who stay as tenant in the Bharali household.

Guwahati was not as water deprived in 2014 as it is today. It was in 2014, Bharali designed his house to harvest the rainwater. Channels were fixed to the tin-roof of his house which fed the rainwater into a long pipe. The water is then transferred into a double-chambered tank. In the first chamber, the rainwater is collected for sedimentation. The clear water then goes into the second chamber fitted with charcoal for filtering out other impurities. After the filtration, the water goes into a 3,000 liter tank.

Bharali said when he started working on his rainwater harvesting mechanism at his Sorumotoria house in Guwahati, his neighbors considered him to be out of his senses. However, today his innovation is deemed to be the need of the hour. Bharali said his family consumes this rain water and have not been adversely affected by it.

The most salient feature of Bharali’s rainwater harvesting mechanism is extra pipe added to the system which leads to an underground pit. The engineer is of the opinion that the water levels of the Earth need to be replenished.

According to Guwahati municipality, permission for construction of building is given when the applicant complies to have a rainwater harvesting provision, a rule which sadly is hardly followed.

Bharali spent Rs 35,000 to construct the system to harvest rainwater. “With the rate at which ground water is depleting, it is not far that we shall have to burn holes in our pockets to fetch a bottle of drinking water,” Bharali said.

India's northeast witnessed a rapid decline in usable groundwater between 2005 and 2013, raising a risk of severe droughts, food crisis, and drinking water scarcity. A northeastern state like Assam, which was regarded as water-sufficient, has lost two per cent of its usable groundwater resource, and is at the brink of suffering drought and famine in impending years.
first published:July 04, 2019, 22:20 IST
last updated:July 04, 2019, 23:10 IST