Sunday, September 3, 2017

Rain water harvesting for a school in Fluoride affected region

The VSR Montessori School is located in village called Raddivaripalle near       Mulakalacheruvu of Mandanpalle Taluk. The School is completely run by Trust without collecting any fee from students for admission, books, travel etc. The main source of water supply to the school is bore well dug in school premises and has no other source of water. As the region is fluoride affected, the school bore well also has significant presence of fluoride around 1.5 ppm with high TDS of around 800. Mrs. Julia Harrington who is one of the trustees was very concerned about water scarcity in the region and thus wanted to rooftop rain water harvesting as alternative solution to the school. But after discussion with her, she was unaware of the high fluoride commination in the region and thus implementing rain water harvesting was crucial to address the water usage concerns in the school. But fortunately the School has RO filter for drinking and students don’t drink the bore well water, when in school at least which is not case for other government schools around. The project was initiated after having detailed discussion with other trustees and thus was decided to be implemented in two phases. In the first phase, we decided to connect all the rooftop area into an existing sump and after filtration. The second phase which has not been initiated yet mainly consisted of recharge structures to the existing bore wells and overflow from the existing sump which is currently connected to the rain water harvesting system. There are various challenges in implementation of the system itself when we are trying to make use/revive the existing structures which are shown in some pictures below. But the significance and importance of rain water harvesting in both water scarce and water contaminated region such as Sompalle needs to be understood and there impacts accessed over period of time. Below are some of the pictures during implementation and the completed system in usage.

Challenges in connecting pipes to get right sloping
First rain separator and filter connected to sump

Construction of filter and sump by our lead plumber Manjunath

Downpipes connected to filter and sump

Our engagement with school and its stakeholders was not restricted to implementation of rain water harvesting system  alone. From our past experience of working with many schools, we believe that solution like rain water harvesting is more effective and operative when there is appropriate communication module conducted in the schools. Our communication module conducted in the schools mainly consists of four sessions where the audience is usually higher primary students i.e. from 5th standard and teachers of the respective school. These sessions are designed and conducted so that students are introduced to first to basics of water cycle, water conservation and its necessity which could also be part of their syllabus. The second session mainly deals with water demand calculation where students calculate their own water demand in the school through various demonstrations like washing hands, vessels etc.: and thus understand the usage of water for each activities. This session leads us into next where we explain rooftop rain water harvesting as an efficient technique for water conservation in schools and even in their homes through some videos and explaining the rain water harvesting system that has been installed in their own school. The last session is conducted in the presence of science teachers and principal (if available) demonstrating water quality through various chemical experiments (for water contaminants like fluoride, chlorine, bacteria etc. :) with water quality kit provided to the school. These sessions are conducted through videos and experiments so that both students and teachers realize the significance and importance of implementing and maintaining rain water harvesting in their schools over long periods to benefit from such intervention especially in fluoride affected areas as seen here. Below are some of the pictures of various sessions conducted in the school and we thank the support of teaching staff and principal for providing all the necessary assistance for conducting such sessions with much passion and encouragement.

Various sessions conducted for students
Communication materials used for sessions

Explaining the RWH system to students so that they take ownership

Students participating actively in one of our sessions

Finally we would like to thank the students who participated enthusiastically in all sessions and the teaching staff for who helped us in conducting sessions. We also thank our lead plumber Manjunath for implementing the system efficiently and has been actively implementing  rain water harvesting systems in School. The success story of rain water implementation in school is significant in fluoride affected area as it showcases this as solution to safe drinking water in water contaminated areas.

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