Meet the Man Who Hasn’t Paid For Water in the Last 20 Years
AR Shiv Kumar believes in getting maximum ROI from his house by going green. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Parul Agrawal)
AR Shiv Kumar believes in getting maximum ROI from his house by going green. (Photo: The Quint/Parul Agrawal)

Meet the Man Who Hasn’t Paid For Water in the Last 20 Years

In a city that survives on water tankers and bottled water, Bengaluru’s AR Shiv Kumar has no water connection at his house and hasn’t had to pay for water in the last twenty years.

Known as the rain catcher of Bengaluru, Shiv Kumar, a rain water harvesting expert at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, has survived on rainwater ever since he built his ‘dream house’ aka ‘green house’ Sourabha.

The Quint visited Shiv Kumar’s house to understand how his model can be replicated.

(Photo: Infographic- <b>The Quint</b>/Hardeep Singh)
(Photo: Infographic- The Quint/Hardeep Singh)

Sourabha: The Environmentally Responsible House

(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Parul Agrawal)
(Photo: The Quint/Parul Agrawal)

When he began building Sourabha, Shiv Kumar sat down and mapped the water consumption of an average family in the locality. As per WHO norms, a family of four needs 500 litres of water a day.

His plot received 2 lakh litres of water even in the worst year of rainfall ie, his household’s annual water requirement (1.825 lakh litres) was lower than the rainfall he received.

Create Space for Tanks Where Ever Possible

(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Parul Agrawal)
(Photo: The Quint/Parul Agrawal)

The rooftop receives rain water and has a water tank with a capacity of 5,000 litres. The ground floor has another 5,000 litre tank. On his portico, he built a 25,000 litre tank that caters to the household’s daily needs.

He built his garage two-and-a-half feet above ground level, creating space for another 10,000 litre tank.

Special Filter for Rain Water

(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Parul Agrawal)
(Photo: The Quint/Parul Agrawal)

Showing us the pipes that carry rainwater to the tanks through a filter for which he has a patent, Shiv Kumar says, “It rains 60-70 days in a year but the water should last for 365 days. The longest gap between two good rains is usually 90-100 days, so you need storage of 40,000 litres to tide over the times when there is no rain.”

Water Channels Everywhere

(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Parul Agrawal)
(Photo: The Quint/Parul Agrawal)

The overflow from one tank goes to another, supplying water at different outlets. The garage tank is the only tank that uses electricity to pump water to the roof.

A separate rooftop tank also collects water from washing machine and recycles it for use in the bathrooms.

Water Quality Never a Concern

(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Parul Agrawal)
(Photo: The Quint/Parul Agrawal)

The drinking water comes from a filter that uses silver foil, an arrangement which any house can choose to implement. The quality of the water is periodically tested and is found to be good.

Clean and safe water is available round the clock, all through the year.

Every Drop is Recycled

(Photo: The Quint/Parul Agrawal)
(Photo: The Quint/Parul Agrawal)

From washing machine sludge to water used in the kitchen, every drop of waste water is recycled. Also, thanks to his lush green surroundings, the family doesn’t even need to use fans in the house!

“The best part of living in Sourabha is that my wallet is safe. I don’t have any bills to pay apart from property tax,” says Shiv Kumar with a smile.

When Nature Works Overtime, the Perks are Many!

(This story was originally published on 9 June 2016. It is being reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark World Water Day)

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