Kannan Venkitachalam is considered the ‘water messiah’ by many apartment dwellers in Marathahalli. This is an account of how he solved the water problem in his apartment complex using technology and human psychology…as told to Magicbricks

The problem

Initially everything went smoothly. Then long hours of pumping almost dried up the borewell and we started depending on tankers. Whenever the water level went down, top floors received less water pressure and working couples always faced empty taps when they returned home at night.

The solution

After surfing the internet and doing research, I came up with a concept called, `Pay per water usage’. Residents who had implemented the concept actually got 24-hours water due to optimum usage.

The methodology

Installation of a meter in each apartment: each flat in our apartment has three to four inlets from the overhead tank. So the water meters were installed in the terrace to ensure minimum alteration to existing plumbing.

A reliable plumber installed it. Roughly, the cost per flat was Rs 9,000. I called an association meeting and proposed the project. It was decided that the residents should pay the amount in two installments.

After implementation

Human psychology is such that once a commodity is billed, people try to keep its usage to a minimum. True to this belief, the water bill per house ranged from Rs 60-1000, as per consumption.

Several water saving tips and techniques were discussed and shared to further reduce the water bill. We used to depend on four tankers of 4000 litre per day for four hours supply. After installation of the meter, this dramatically reduced to two per day with 24-hours water supply. Water consumption dropped by almost 50 per cent as about 40 per cent of the residents were consuming more water for which others were paying.

Other steps implemented

RO Water for washing machine: Many use the reverse Osmosis System (RO) filter at home. This water was collected and supplied to the washing machine. The kitchen sink tap was replaced with a sharp shower, ensuring more area coverage and less consumption.

Beneath the floating ball in the toilet tank a thick thermocol block was put such that only 2/3rd of the tank filled while flow pressure was adjusted, increasing the water saving.

The control valve under the wash basin was kept half closed as this was more than sufficient to clean hands and face.

Water used for cleaning vegetables in the kitchen was connected to pipes to water the plants.

Use of a 16-litre bucket for head baths resulted in less wastage.

Today, the apartment has 24-hours water supply.

“Water wastage can be reduced by individual accountability just like the telephone or electricity bill,” says Venkitachalam. “Without measure, it is difficult for families to control.”