Rain Water Harvesting - Implementation - Tamilnadu


Rain Water Harvesting Home>

The implementation of Rainwater Harvesting in the state of Tamilnadu was launched
as a people’s movement. The inspiration of the Chief Minister translated the vision
into action.
As early as in May 2001, Rain Water Harvesting was given prime importance in the
Honourable Chief Minister’s budget announcement. This was followed by the Chief
Ministers address on Independence Day in 2001. Attention was drawn to the
prospect of harvesting water in open areas, wells, tanks etc.
During the budget session in 2002 the emphasis was on saving every drop of water.
The discussion under scored the measures to be implemented. The drought in 2002
brought forth the urgency to combat the crisis. The movement gathered momentum
after the declaration of the ordinance.
Honourable Chief Minister’s budget announcement
“The Government recognises the benefits of harvesting rainwater to augment the
receding surface and ground water levels in the State. We propose to undertake
massive awareness campaign and disseminate information on appropriate rainwater
harvesting structures for rural and urban area. Existing town planning regulations will be
suitably amended and enforced to ensure that all private, public and Government
buildings meet the roof top rainwater harvesting requirements."
Independence Day Address delivered by the Honourable Chief Minister of Tamilnadu
The inspiration to find a solution to the perennial problems of water scarcity came from
the Independence Day Address delivered by the Honourable Chief Minister of Tamilnadu
on August 15, 2001.
“The failure of the monsoons in the previous years and the indiscriminate exploitation of
groundwater have led to the scarcity of water for drinking and agriculture. This situation
is due to improper maintenance of the minor irrigation tanks, temple tanks, community
wells, etc., and also due to the ineffective water management and conservation
practices. Rainwater harvesting will be accorded prime importance. All water bodies like
tanks, ponds, lakes, temple tanks, in rural and urban areas will be renovated to serve as
rainwater harvesting structures.”
Budget session in 2002
Again, during the budget session in 2002, among the various measures implemented for
water management, it was emphasized that:
‘The focus will be to save every drop of water and make rain water harvesting
everybody’s business and ensure availability of safe drinking water besides making
available for industry.’
Chief Minister’s announcement
After the depressing drought that hit the entire state in 2002, the Chief Minister called
upon the urgency to implement rainwater harvesting to conserve every precious drop of
rain. The Chief Minister declared, “With the North East Monsoon due from October 2003,
we have to act post haste to implement Rainwater Harvesting on a Mission Mode,
conserve every drop of rainfall and ensure that groundwater resources are augmented in
the state.”
Implementation of RWH in phases
Phase I
Phase I of implementing RWH was launched by the Government of Tamilnadu with a
historic ordinance, titled as “Tamilnadu Municipal and Panchayat Laws Ordinance
and issued on July 19, 2003”, the ordinance, made Rain Water Harvesting
mandatory for all buildings in the state. The deadline for constructing the structures
was set for August 31, 2003, a month ahead of the monsoon season.
The ordinance further provisioned that if the deadline was not met, the state’s
Executive Authorities will act to provide the structure and recover the cost from the
owner in the same manner as property tax.
Phase II – Expanded program
On 20th August 2003, the Chief Minister directed the RWH campaign to cover all
fields, patta lands, road margins, streets, tanks, ponds and other open areas which
have the potential to harvest runoff water.
Phase II of the RWH campaign targeted all open places where rainwater can be
harvested and wastage of this valuable resource prevented. Construction of
recharge structures was planned at National and State Highways, Panchayat and
union roads, temple tanks, forest area etc.,
Launch a Mass movement
a. Chief Minister’s letter
The Chief Minister personally wrote to over 15,000 elected representatives including
Mayors of Corporations, Chairpersons and Vice-Chairpersons of Municipalities and
Town Panchayats and Presidents of Village Panchayats appealing to them to join
the movement to conserve water through RWH. To accentuate the importance of this
movement, a meeting was organised in all he districts and the letters were handed
over to the elected representatives.
Once again for Expanded Program under Phase II, the Chief Minister personally
wrote to all the local body chiefs requesting them to involve actively.
The personal note from the Chief Minister had a tremendous impact.
b. Propagate
A communication strategy to reach the message of RWH to every citizen,
community, NGO, educational institution, private organization and government body
was framed. The multi modal communication methods included the print, broadcast,
direct contact with the public and the ubiquitous Internet. Different state government
departments coordinated the publicity campaigns that targeted people at all social
Jingles were broadcast over the radio. Celebrities’ endorsements were included to
make the messages more forceful.
Advertisements and plays were telecast all over the region. Stars for the film world
added their inimitable touch with earnest appeals. Message scrolls were introduced
in cable network.
Cinema theatres
Slides about RWH were screened in all Cinema Theatres.
Road shows
Street plays and short films added dynamism to the RWH campaign.
Advertisements and experience of people who had implemented RWH were
released in the local dailies in regional languages throughout the campaign period.
Print media
Brochures and leaflets with technical and cost details about RWH were distributed in
all government offices and to the public.
Out door
Hoardings and wall paintings at places of high visibility exhibited the necessity and
effectiveness of RWH. Posters were displayed in all public buildings. Colourful
illustrations about RWH on panels mounted on buses and autos became a common
c. Educate
Further to disseminating information through the print and audiovisual media,
students, people from all walks of life and officials in government departments were
invited to seminars and workshops to expose them to the benefits of RWH and the
simple installation methods.
Several seminars were conducted in many a venue around the state with
distinguished personalities engaged in water resource management.
Information seminars for District Development Officers and Block Development
officers, were held at
Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority Office
Institute of Public Health Engineers, Poonamallee,
State Institute for Rural Development, Maraimalainagar
A Seminar was organised for the students of Anna University at the Central Leather
Research Institute.
Seminars were held exclusively for women, including Self Help Groups (SHG) in the
rural areas to sensitise them on the utility of RWH structures
One-day workshop on Urban Rainwater Harvesting was conducted at Chennai, with
the participation of Municipal Engineers, Town Panchayat Officials, Chennai
Corporation Engineers, TWAD and CMWSSB Officials and NGOs.
Workshops were also organised at the District Collectorates with the participation of
the Tahsildars, Block Development Officers, Municipal Engineers, Chief Educational
Officers and Engineers from TWAD, PWD, Agricultural Engineering Departments
and public representatives.
Technical guidance was offered by TWAD and CMWSSB on the lithology and soil
types in different areas and the types of RWH needed.
d. Motivate
This part of the exercise was aimed at motivating communities, groups, associations,
industries and commercial establishments to adopt rainwater harvesting to meet their
water requirements.
Door to door campaigns
CMWSSB’s field staff conducted door-to-door campaigns. They also requisitioned
the services of engineering and polytechnic students. A total of 55,000 students were
pressed into service for a one-day door-to-door campaign in Chennai city.
More than 25,000 young people were empanelled by TWAD Board throughout the
State as Service Providers, trained in the implementation of the various methods of
RWH and involved in the mass promotion and implementation of RWH.
Volunteers in other parts of the state added their mite in reaching out to impress
upon their neighbours about the importance of collecting and storing water through
Rallies & Human chain
District Collectors organised massive rallies and human chains involving voluntary
organisations, school and college students, to make it a mass movement.
e) Reward
The Chief Minister mooted a proposal to award a prize and write a personal letter to
each and every child in each and every class, who personally motivates his / her
parents to provide RWH structures in their house.
Prizes were instituted for the three Best Schools and three Best Teachers in each
district, who successfully propagated rainwater harvesting.
Food for Work program was dovetailed to achieve the twin objectives of providing
employment to the needy and in enrolling labour for implementing the RWH projects
in remote areas.
The Collector of the Best District in terms of performance with regard to rainwater
harvesting was awarded a shield.
The Chief Minister felicitated the elected representatives of the town Panchayats
who achieved 100% coverage in their jurisdiction before the stipulated date of august
31st, 2003.
f) Technical support
Information Centres
Permanent Information Centres on Rainwater Harvesting functioning at the TWAD
head office and in all its district level offices provide free technical guidance.
CMWSS Board has established Information Centres at its head office.
Information Centres setup in all District Collectorates help residents with information
about RWH.
Rain Centres
Rain Centres with working models of Rainwater Harvesting methodology have been
setup in TWAD Board and CMWSS Board in Chennai.
The Rain Centre, run by Akash Ganga Trust, a non-profit organization, is a model
house on rainwater harvesting. This is a one-stop place that provides all information
including designs, cost estimates and a list of contractors to install the RWH system.
Websites providing comprehensive information on Rainwater Harvesting have been
hosted. Periodical updating of the websites is being done.
TWAD Board: http://www.aboutrainwaterharvesting.com
CMWSS Board: http://www.chennaimetrowater.com
A link has been provided in the website of TWAD Board – http://www.twadboard.com
TWAD Board and CMWSS Board installed Helpline numbers and advertised it
prominently in all newspapers and transport systems.
7. Result of the campaign
Results always happen when leaders take the initiate. The act of leading by example
is a strong motivator and like always it galvanised the entire populace of Tamilnadu
into action.
RWH at the Chief Minister’s residence
Even before the ordinance came into effect, the Honourable Chief Minister had
implemented RWH structures in her own residence, thereby making a perfect
example of putting the government’s policy into practice.
RWH in all Government buildings
The government agencies too led by way of example. Their swift action resulted in
installation of RWH facilities in the buildings belonging to the state.
First among these were the Raj Bhavan, Ripon Building and the Government
Secretariat followed by the head offices of other state departments.
Tamilnadu Water Supply and Drainage Board (TWAD)
TWAD not only spearheaded the campaign to disseminate the message about RWH
through advertisements, seminars, website, Help line, Rain Centre etc. but also was
among the first to install RWH facilities in its offices.
In TWAD House, its Head office at Chennai, roof top rainwater harvesting to
recharge the shallow aquifer was done through the construction of 3 recharge
trenches and a recharge well.
Implementation of RWH structures soon followed, in the office buildings owned by
the TWAD board, inspection bungalows and the water quality testing laboratories.
TWAD continues with the construction of recharge structures under schemes funded
by the Prime Minister’s Gramodaya Yojana, Accelerated Rural Water Supply
Programme, NABARD and the UNICEF.
Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB)
Beginning with the installations of RWH in its head office in Chennai, the CMWSSB
rendered technical advice and helped property owners in installing suitable RWH
structures in their buildings.
Corporation of Chennai
The Corporation of Chennai has installed RWH facilities in all its properties like
schools, office buildings, hospitals, maternity centres, community centres, parks,
playgrounds etc. RWH structures are provided in road margins, streets, flyovers,
bridges and low-lying open spaces in the city of Chennai. It introduced rainwaterfriendly
storm water drains without concrete lining to allow seepage and recharge of
ground water.
The Chennai Corporation together with the Hindu Religious & Charitable
Endowments Department has provided RWH structures in 14 temple tanks including
Arulmigu Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane, Kabaleesvarar temple, Mylapore and
others in different parts of the city.
Several departments and organisations were involved in promoting and
implementing rainwater harvesting programme.
Educational Institutes
All educational institutes played multiple roles in the campaign. Besides installing the
RWH facilities, the management of schools and colleges encouraged teachers and
children spread the word about water conservation and harvesting.
Non-Government Groups
Non-Government Organisations (NGO)
Akash Ganga, Exnora, National Rainwater Harvester’s Network, Dhan foundation,
Mayil Natural Club, Rotary Club and other NGOs actively promoted rainwater
harvesting in urban and rural areas.
National Social Service (NSS)
The NSS coordinators, organisers and programmers in educational institutions
promoted rainwater harvesting by adopting a village.
Women Self Help Groups (SHG)
The Collectors of each district involved Women’s Self-Help Groups in rural areas in
championing the cause for preserving water and erecting RWH.
Other associations
Residents’ associations in innumerable towns, colonies and apartment clusters were
also involved. People who had already implemented RWH structures in their houses
came forward to share their success stories to inspire fellow citizens.
8. Response to the mass movement
Response from urban areas
The government order became a people’s movement. The awareness created on the
necessity of Roof top rainwater harvesting resulted in a positive reaction. Today
people realize the importance of rainwater harvesting for conservation of precious
water resources. RWH structures were installed at in all buildings across the whole
state at a rapid pace. The data collated indicates the effectiveness of the
communication strategy and people’s response.
By the end of October 2003, a total of 48,11,325 Non-government buildings in urban
areas had RRWH installations. RWH is now adopted in every individual and
multistoried building (private houses, commercial buildings, private institutions) in the
Response from rural areas
People from rural areas responded with enthusiasm by installing RRWH in 66,67,178
buildings. Even the small huts are provided with RWH facility for collecting the roof
water in small storage containers.
Response from the government sector
Rooftop rainwater harvesting facilities have been erected in 1,72,341 Government
office buildings.
Response to Phase II - expanded program
Apart from this, during the second phase of the program 2,57,75,694 rainwater
harvesting projects have been completed so far. These include Check dams,
Percolation ponds, Farm ponds, Ponds, Ooranies, Dykes, Cattle ponds, Temple
tanks, Recharge wells, Desiltation of tanks and Minor Irrigation tanks etc.