Out of the 900 residential societies in Pimpri-Chinchwad area, Nisarg Darshan Society in Sector 26 of Nigdi-Pradhikaran stands out. The residents do not worry if there is a shortage of water supply.
They have in place a water harvesting project. For a good 13 years, the housing society has been storing rainwater runoff from roofs in underground tanks. They use the water for household purposes, and also for drinking. Nisarg Darshan is the only housing society in Pimpri-Chinchwad that has adopted the method.
It benefits not only the residents of Nisarg Darshan Society, but several other areas as well, which otherwise would not get supply water.
Soon after the housing society was established, residents faced water shortage as it was located at a higher altitude. The idea of implementing the rainwater harvesting project was mooted. Rain water from the terraces is not allowed to waste. It is collected through pipes monsoon in underground storage tanks for use .
“For four months during monsoon, we keep our terrace closed. It is washed with bleaching power and kept as clean as possible. When rainwater is collected during monsoon, it is channelled through pipes into the underground storage tank,” said Dilip Pandey, secretary of the housing society that has 67 flats in four buildings.
The housing society not only uses water stored in underground tanks for household purposes, but also for drinking.
“We do not have to depend on PCMC water for drinking purposes. We have installed two filters in underground tanks that ensure residents get clean water,” says Pandey. The water harvesting project, when it was set up, cost only Rs 23,000.
The project brought big savings for residents.
“For four months during monsoon, we don’t use PCMC water. That means, we do not incur any water bill which otherwise used to be upwards of 70,000 (for the colony) every six months. Secondly, the PCMC, instead of supplying water to our society, supplies it to other areas in Nigdi-Pradhikaran which otherwise would have been deprived of their quota,” said Pandey.
“We fill the underground tank to the brim. At least 80,000 litres is required for that,” said another society resident.
PCMC executive engineer Ramdas Tambe said the society has set an example in saving precious water.
“It is a unique initiative,” Pandey said that in fact, the initiative was taken by Pravin Ladkat, executive engineer of PCMC, when he used to stay in the society.
Santosh Marne, who runs the Rainbow Rainwater Harvesting Consultancy, said what Nisarg Darshan society has done, no one else has adopted.
“Several societies have installed the system. But only in Nisarg Darshan, they use water both for drinking and household purposes. And they have been doing it without any problem for years,” he said.
Residents in Nisarg Darshan Society are now waiting for rain. “We are ready to collect water on our terrace. This time, the rain seems to be late, but it will rain anytime now…”