It has been ages since water scarcity has found its place in the headlines of every newspaper. In Kathmandu, public water taps are common to our visual; however one can hardly find water running through. In the mean time, finding people highly depended upon groundwater to meet can be easily traced down. The only question that lie is- How long is the groundwater going to serve the people?
Water demand triggers the need of water table recharge. Every monsoon brings enough rain, a gift for recharging and leveling up the water table. However, due to the concretization of the ground unlike the porous ground found in earlier days, let alone recharge, water hardly infiltrates through. Large amount of water overflows straight into the drainage canals. With the intervention of proper techniques, this water could have been an asset with the adequate storage and utilization. Furthermore, the additional water can be connected to the recharge well thereby helping to recharge the well. Sadly, much needs to be achieved.
While the city dwellers are struggling with the water scarcity, Sri Sathya Sai Shiksha Sadan has found a smart way to deal with it. Despite of all the issues surrounding water supply, the school is secured in terms of water supply. It has installed and adopted a well-structured rainwater harvesting system.
After a year, the school’s only water supply is treated rainwater and wastewater. Still the school is able to meet it demand of water supply. Beside meeting its own water demand, the school has been able to serve the community as well. “The school is open to the community people as well in order to fetch water,” says NarottamUpadhya, Principal, Sathya Sai Bidhyashram.
He further added, “Everyday people living around come to the schools in order to fetch water as the public water supply is irregular. Besides, rainwater harvesting in the school also has waste-water treatment system which has reduced the burden of waste that might otherwise get mixed into the rivers in the valley.”
More than 400 students residing in Sri Satya Sai School depends on rainwater, the only water source the school depends on. In fact, the school management distributes the water to the people living nearby.
On 17 May, 2016, Marc Sylvester, Program Manager of International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance; Narendra Man Dongol, Bimala Gurung and I, Manashree Newa (GUTHI Team) visited the school located at Tokha. The school covers 30 ropanis of total school area.
Mr. Dongol, Construction Incharge had installed Rainwater Harvesting System and Wastewater Treatment System in the school. The school can be set as an example for other schools as well.
The school collects water with the application of basic rainwater harvesting system components: gutter, downpipe, first flush and storage tank. The buildings were fixed with pipes that collected rainwater. It is directly used for bathing and washing purposes whereas it is treated and filtered well before drinking. There even were recharge pits and ponds at various locations within the school compound. If recharge pond gets overflowed, the system transfers excess water into the recharge well. There were drains around the area that diverted surface runoff into the recharge pond. The playground helped in the process of rainwater infiltration.
The wastewater treatment system was very impressive as well. There were separate collection chambers for grey water and black water. The grey water was first made free from grease through grease trap. The grey and black water were then sent to Anaerobic Baffled Reactor (ABR) which contains five chambers. The effluent from ABR was then sent to Horizontal Reed Bed and then to Vertical Flow Reed Bed. Later, the final effluent was sent to aeration pond to aerate it so that the water can be used in agricultural fields.
The overall visit was very fruitful and eye-opening for me. Since I have a huge interest on Solid Waste Management, I found the waste water treatment plant really interesting. Watching the practical and effective application of the theories I have studied was really inspiring.
The only drawback I saw was that water filtration mechanism should be taken more care of.
I would like to thank GUTHI for providing me an opportunity to visit this amazing place.