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20 Edition
Jan 2022


(Here are thought-provoking excerpts from the meeting of WOW Chennai #02 of January 27, 2022)

Rainfall in Chennai helps avoid drought for a few more years….

Right now, Chennai is a strange place. We were pounded by a lot of rain throughout November, December, and January. On November 6 alone, there was 450 mm of rain. That is the total amount of rain that usually falls in the entire month of November – many will know that since Chennai gets only the returning monsoon, this is the rainiest month of the year. 

What can we do to combat this situation? Thanks to this strong rainfall in Chennai, we may be able to avoid it by 2022. We experienced a Zero Day two and a half years ago, when Chennai was scrambling for water. Schools, offices, and businesses were all forced to close. This was thanks to the monsoon’s failure in 2017 and 2018. Chennai receives water only if there is a storm or a depression in the Bay of Bengal. Chennai does not have a normal cycle of rain – it runs out of water, faces a drought, and that is something we have to learn with, and build elements of resilience for the long term.

- Rtn. Ajit Nair, former IPA Chair, Chennai.

The success story of aerators

“We experimented with water aerators in our flat. There was a reduction in costs from Rs 44,000 to Rs 38,000 per day. This is the most cost-effective way to conserve water. We've been doing this for the past four years; we started in 2018. This is the most effective way to begin conserving water. This is a topic that I believe needs to be popularised in Chennai. It is certain that aerators will save you at least 15-20%.”

- Suresh A Pai, WOW Bengaluru Mission Director.


One challenge in Chennai …..

“This is a problem in Chennai. I live in a building with around 256 units. We did bring in aerators, which the principal secretary of water resources in the state vigorously supported three years ago. However, because no one pays for water in this area, there was no incentive or monitoring of conserving. And that is a demotivator for any water management project. This is a huge portion of Chennai, with the exception of a few areas where metro water does not reach and residents must pay for water. It absolutely makes sense for them to invest in aerators in one location where there might be usage for water per litre and a chart for that. People in other regions of the world are unaware of this wonderful purpose. So, if we can establish a campaign to get others to want to do this, that would be great. There appears to be a backlog there.”   

- E Nandakumar, CEO, International Centre for Clean Water. 


Recharge wells on the roads in Chennai…..

“When it comes to recharging wells, we have some allies. We have a sponsor who has agreed to pay half the cost, and the Rotary Club has agreed to cover the other half. We looked at suggestions on how to accomplish this on the roadways. We've plotted out the water table across the city. So whenever there is a low water table, putting a recharge well on the road improves the water table. Second, we must do it in an area that is low-lying, prone to flooding, and where indentation is occurring. Then there's the matter of capturing the runoff water.”

- Ajit Nair, IPA Chennai Chair


These are extracts of conversations of WOW members in the Core Executive Group. Add your comments, views

Arsenic removal from drinking water

How arsenic gets into water? Can someone throw more light on this please?

-  B S Mamatha, WOWAF Member, Bengaluru

Please explore the following agencies for possible answers on the arsenic problem:


1. NEERI, Nagpur who have experts in water chemistry and mitigation of various water pollutants


2. Environmental engineering department of Jadavpur University, West Bengal as mentioned in the video.

3. Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi.


The solutions to be adopted or developed for managing the arsenic menace perhaps need CSR type of support from, say, beverage and large-scale corporate producers of bottled water.


While at a 1000-acre facility in West Bengal, (laden with arsenic) six years ago, I was enquiring with an IIT-Powai professor specialising in STP systems in sync with circular economy logic, if rainwater harvesting would help overcome the problem of arsenic in groundwater, the answer was an emphatic NO.

I don't know of any mitigation options for arsenic, and am searching.

- UV Krishna Mohan Rao, WOW Action Forum Member, Chennai


You may want to check this link on Arsenic removal from drinking water. 


-  V K Saxena


Vijayaraj Shishodya working on groundwater recharge in railways

In terms of water, India's metropolitan districts are now in a contradictory situation. On the one hand, there is a severe water shortage, but on the other side, the streets flood during rainstorms. This reflects the inability of urban local governments to employ rainy-season excess water to make up for shortages in other seasons. The existing centralised water supply system is unsustainable and consumes a tremendous amount of energy. With urbanisation and limited open places for ground water recharge, the lack of ground water becomes increasingly pronounced. Water scarcity can lead to social unrest, rallies, protests, and roadblocks. Rainwater collection may be a viable option in this case.

S O U T H    I N D I A N    M A Y    S E E    F R E Q U E N T   R A I N S    I N    T H E    N E X T

3   D E C A D E S

“More Rains, More Droughts in Store”


This study indicates that over the next three decades, India’s southern regions may see greater and more frequent rainfall, as well as warmer summer maximum and winter minimum temperatures.

The Centre for Science, Technology, and Policy has produced a study titled "District-Level Changes in Climate: Historical Climate and Climate Change Projections for the Southern States of India." The researchers looked at climatic patterns from 1991 to 2019 and created a prediction of what they think would happen in south India.

The study looked at two different emissions-scenarios: medium and high emissions. It also looked at all of the 139 districts in the five southern states — Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu — as part of a bigger research that projected climate change over all of India's states.


A K O L A    V I L L A G E R S   C R E A T E    W A T E R    S U C C E S S   S T O R Y

"Water is the elixir of life on earth. Water crisis is a looming threat to many countries including India"

Akola Dev, a tiny hamlet with a population of 3,000 in the Jafrabad taluka of Jalna district, has set an example by implementing efficient water conservation practises on its perimeter at a time when the whole state of Marathwada is suffering from a drought-like scenario.

All of the villages have banded together to establish water saving measures, allowing them to survive on rains from the previous year. Furthermore, the village's farmers have accomplished 100 percent kharif crop production and are also distributing potable water to the surrounding communities.


B A S E D    O N    I S R A E L' S   S U C C  E S S    S T O R Y,   W E   W A N T   T O    H E L P

I N D I A     I N     I T S     Q U E S T    F O R     Q U E S T

“Israel went from being water-scarce to water-abundant. It has aided India’s efforts, and will deepen cooperation”

 - Ron Malka (Israel’s ambassador to India and Sri Lanka)

Ron Malka's parents taught him the worth and necessity of water for life on Earth fifty years ago when he was a youngster. This water-conscious culture instilled in him as a child and continues to inspire him in his work now.

As a young officer in the Israel Defence Forces, he was warned by an expert that war in the Middle East was unavoidable 35 years ago. The reason is simple: water. As the population swelled and water supplies became scarce, it seemed only a matter of time before a conflict erupted in the dry region for the source of life.

Israel, on the other hand, was able to prevent this crisis by establishing both ways for increasing water supplies as well as strategies for managing and controlling water consumption efficiently.


The WOW Action Forum hosts Commendation Awards every quarter and bestows the                                                                  on all Big Water-Savers who save and so ‘donate’ water to the city by consuming less fresh water in the interest of making water-positive cities.



Alt. Tech Foundation is a not-for-profit, for-industry Foundation for

(i) producing sustainability managers and leaders,
(ii) providing green management skill sets,

(iii) hosting city-wide campaigns for citizen collective action to save water & energy,

(iv) purposing research for city infrastructure.

WOW Action Forum is a globally pioneering effort for bringing collective private action to save very large quantities of water at apartments, at Industry, at tech parks, or hotels and hospitals or malls and other such buildings. The 2021 mission is set to save 1000 Cr lites with community-led action. This alone will bring a saving of 236 Cr in electricity bills for the city, and a reduction in carbon emission of nearly 300,000 tonnes equivalent.

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