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Bless the Rain and be Blessed!

12 Dec. 2011 5:27 PM IST

It's that time of the year again when many parts of Kohima will be undergoing water problems. It's a wonder that just a few months back people were complaining about the rains which seemed to pour incessantly but now many will be complaining about the drying of wells, ponds, streams and rivers. Of course, those living near the Forest Colony area will know of no such problem thanks to the Pulie Badze and the good water supply system. The water supply seems to die halfway and the flow is significantly diminished with distance from Jotsoma where the great water tanker lies. Thirsty public has been successful in making holes or hiding damages in the pipeline so that they can obtain this water on mutual understanding. I have seen some go to the extent of ingeniously connecting personal pipelines by finding leakages or making them, and then neatly covering them up with plaster as well as 'blacktopping', in case of roads. Well, no one is to blame because thirst and hunger can make man do things.

It was some years back when we were interviewed in our college by some people from a magazine about how we felt about rains. I was shocked by their replies. I always thought of rains as a blessing because right from my childhood I had been experiencing water scarcity and the rains were one thing we looked forward to. But to my friends it was a different thing. They thought it a nuisance and a problem because rains resulted in a lot of landslides and other personal problems which I was yet to realize. At that time I thought I was simply being optimistic and they were being pessimistic. I was wrong!

I had shifted from Officer's Hill Colony to Agri Colony during my 11th. Soon, water problems during spring and winter was a thing of the past. There was ample Govt. water supply which sometimes exceeded our need and even overflowed because we could not store them all. Yes, it happens even during winter and spring. To add to that there are ponds which do not dry up and also there were private pipelines from the forest. That was when the rains began to spell trouble for me. I was a prodigy at  losing umbrellas and so hated the rains for ruining my prized hairstyle which took my 30 minutes in front of the mirror. The roads did no better as the pot holes were dangerous spots when vehicles passed by. The overflowing gutters forced me to wade through the river of a road (I was planning to buy a boat for crossing the road). I started to curse the rains which I always considered a blessing.

It was not until during my BSc. II days that I re-realized the importance of rains. The lecturer was talking about the causes of rainfall in Nagaland and I was wondering how good it would be if the mountains in the North were removed and if there were no Western Disturbances at all. Suddenly, by a dint of smite, I realized without these mountains and winds there would not be what we have today. These rains were the reason we have those beautifully forest covered mountains and like a child I thought again where the water in the rivers and ponds came from...

A few years of not facing water problems had turned me into a complaining, thankless and unappreciative wretch! When we never face the problem, we never know. Getting myself back on track, I decided to think of something to help ourselves. I was lazy most of the time that was why I could never come up with anything. Then one day I decided to do the least I can to get started at least and here are some things i found out.

We are starting to think of traditional rain water harvesting as old fashioned and less and less people follow this. But I found from some of my searches that even developed cities like Tokyo, Singapore and Berlin practice this method. What striked me most was that in Thailand people store rainwater from rooftop runoff in jars to obtain high quality drinking water. The jars are equipped with lid, faucet and drain which come with capacities ranging from 100 to 3000 litres. The most popular one is a 2000 litre jar which holds sufficient drinking water for a six-person household for up to six months during the dry season.
Likewise, countries like Indonesia, Philippines, China, etc have dug infiltration wells to recharge underground water. This has helped to reduce water problems arising out of insufficient underground water recharge. In some places underground tanks or simple tanks are constructed to store rainwater for use during dry seasons.

Right now my knowledge is limited and everything might not work out but it would be nice to give rain water harvesting more thought.

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