JNTU-H catches rain with geomembrane

JNTU-H catches rain with geomembrane
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Highlights

In 2011, the JNTU campus would get 30 water tankers every day and the cost would run up to Rs 7 to Rs 8 lakh a year. Cut to May 2017, the university spread over 100 acres is now self-sufficient and no longer depends on water tankers. 

Using simple technology for rainwater harvesting, the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad campus (JNTU-H) now is self-sufficient and does not depend on water tankers anymore

Hyderabad: In 2011, the JNTU campus would get 30 water tankers every day and the cost would run up to Rs 7 to Rs 8 lakh a year. Cut to May 2017, the university spread over 100 acres is now self-sufficient and no longer depends on water tankers.

Speaking about the turnaround, Dr M V S S Giridhar, Head, Centre for Water Resources, says, “Unlike the usual rainwater harvesting taken up by others, we tweaked it a bit by using geomembrane plastic to cover the pits and injection wells that help increase groundwater levels.”

With funding from Central Groundwater Board and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the project was completed and 13 structures were developed; including rooftop run-off harvesting structures and surface run-off harvesting structures at a cost of Rs 50 lakh.

Today, all the 23 borewells on the campus are working even during peak summer and 60 crore litres of water has been harvested in four years. The efforts have paid off as the university is saving lakhs of rupees and the groundwater levels in the neighbouring areas too has gone up considerably.

The simple technology used by JNTU-H has resulted in gains. “These are simple measures and do not cost much but have great results. Sadly, most of the rainwater harvesting structures in the city, including in parks have become defunct and reduced to dump yards as they do not have geomembrane plastic covers and injection wells,” says Giridhar.

The JNTU-H model is now fast gaining popularity and is being replicated in other institutions and in some districts in Telangana. Giridhar says, “JNTU is willing to give free technical advice to anyone wishing to go in for rainwater harvesting.”

What is geomembrane cover?
The usual practice is to construct rainwater harvesting pit leaving the roof open. But in the JNTU-H model, a 120 micron pore size geomembrane plastic cover is spread on the pit that allows the water to percolate into the pit but traps trash and rubbish. Only clean water gets into the ground enabling the levels to increase manifold.
What is injection well?
The injection well is a hole drilled to a desired depth. In certain points it was dug up to 100 feet and at other places 200 feet. It helps to stop solids from entering the recharge well resulting in increase in groundwater levels.
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