Vishwanath Srikantaiah, more popularly known as ZenRainMan, Has Been Preaching The Importance Of Rainwater Harvesting For Nearly Three Decades. This Is His Story…
“In 1989 I had the opportunity to visit many rural areas and saw the crisis with water. The people and communities there were struggling to access water particularly in the summertime. That’s when I first realized the need for rainwater conservation and harvesting.”
He talks from a house made of earth, in a part of the city where traffic cannot be heard. In a small part of a housing colony near Yelahanka, Vishwanath Srikantaiah has made his little haven; a house that is self-sustainable, eco-friendly and reduces wastage to its bare minimum.
“The house Sans Souci is built with earth excavated from the site itself. In the design we have a basement, which gave us enough soil to make the whole house. We do not have a ceiling fan in the entire house, let alone an air-conditioner. We harvest rainwater, reuse greywater, have a composting toilet, we compost and reuse kitchen waste and use solar energy for lighting and water heating,” Vishwanath says.
A rescued dog, who Vishwanath has named Bell, makes his way into the house as he tells us the many ways in which water is subconsciously wasted by the citizens of Bengaluru.
“Most of the wastage is in washing clothes and dishes. Small things like leaving the tap or shower on, using the hose in the garden and overwatering are very common. When I started out in 1991, it was just a website where we implemented some projects. I’m really glad to be able to say that we have since worked out a policy and law for rainwater harvesting in the city,” he adds.
Like most social causes, the peoples’ voice is what’s needed to make the difference, says Vishwanath, as he introduces us to the concept of a ‘recharge well’.
“Ignorance and water illiteracy is a big challenge. Most of us do not know where the water we use comes from, how much we use it or what happens to the used water. The use of more recharge wells in the city is a big step, because it collects rainwater, filters it and gives us usable water.”
With talk of Bengaluru running short of water, Vishwanath points out that the city needs to take conscious steps to improve the situation. “Bengaluru will not run out of water if we harvest rainwater, recharge groundwater, reuse waste-water, protect our lakes and wetlands.”
We had to ask him about the thought behind the name ZenRainMan, “The word ‘zen’ comes from the Japanese practice of finding inner peace and ‘rainman’ is from the movie but also the work that one does,” he says.
How you can join ZenRainMan’s efforts to save rainwater in Bengaluru
– Explore the possibility of having recharge wells and solar power in your locality.
– Take a conscious effort to reduce the use and wastage of water in your homes.
– Reuse grey-water to water plants, instead of letting it flow through the drains.
This article is a part of the #HeroesWearBlue campaign, where we bring to you stories of Bengaluru’s heroes – people among us who strive for a better world. Do you know an everyday hero? Tweet to us @bengalurufc now!