Rainwater Harvesting

Updated Feb 2019

Rains are a major source of water for us, many rivers feed out of it. However, much of the water goes waste when we allow it to run off and enter urban drains. Hence it is extremely important to accumulate, the water through roof drains, into underground reservoirs, for use.

Rainwater can be used in gardens, in toilets, and for domestic use with proper treatment. The harvested water can also be used for storage and for other purposes such as groundwater recharge.

rwh6

Suitable for roof top area upto 100 sq.metres  

rwh5

 Abandoned/ Running Hand Pump 
Suitable for roof top area upto 150 sq.metres

 rwh4

Abandoned Dug Well 
Suitable for roof top area more than 1000sq.metres 

rwh3

Recharge Trench 
Suitable for roof top area — 200 to 300 sq.metres

rwh2

Gravity Head Recharge Well 
Suitable for roof top area more than 400sq.metres 

rwh1

Recharge Shaft 
Suitable for roof top area greater than 1500 sq.metres

 All images sourced from: Delhi Jal Board

Why Should we Harvest Rainwater?

With rapid urbanisation and the growth in population, the existing portable water supply is no longer sufficient to meet consumption needs.  According to the Delhi Jal Board, based on its present population, Delhi’s water requirement is 800 MGD (million gallons per day), while the total water supply from all sources is 670 MGD. Delhi gets most of its water from neighbouring basin states like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh etc. Thus, the Delhi Govt. is limited in augmenting its water supply, leading to increased pressure on ground water.

With the receding water table, it has become all the more imperative to adopt Rainwater harvesting techniques.

Rainfall usually occurs in high intensity short spells, resulting in a run off, rather than recharging the ground water levels. Rainwater harvesting helps chanelise this runoff water, and store it. Rainwater is bacteriologically pure, free from organic matter and soft in nature. Moreover, it can be used to recharge the ground water levels  . Another advantage of rainwater harvesting is to reduce the . In fact, rainwater harvesting systems have been put in place in Chennai, and the Delhi Government has taken inspiration from them.

According to rainwaterharvesting.org:

Potential of rooftop water availability in National Capital Territory of Delhi

Roof Area in Sq.m Annual rainfall in (litres) Quantity of rainfall available for harvesting (litres)
50 30,550 18,330
100 61,100 36,660
500 305,500 183,300
1000 610,000 366,600

(Note: a.Annual average rainfall of Delhi=611 mm; b. runoff coefficient is assumed as 0.60;Sq. m to be read as square metre)
An analysis done based on the rainfall availability and demand supply gap shows that even 50 per cent of the rainwater harvested could help in bridging the demand supply gap.

What is the state of the Ground Water Table in Delhi?

A graphic published in the Times of India in May 2018 showed the following figures:

Neighborhood Depth to water level(m)
Dwarka 21.92
Kapashera 79
Mehrauli 78.1
Mayapuri 37.36
Janakpuri 12.9
Vikaspuri 15.62

A previous article in the Hindu dated August 2014, suggested the state of Ground water is dismal, especially in south and south-west Delhi. Here are some facts and figures from the article, to give you and idea.

Region Depth to water level(m) Area in sqkm
Central, North-West, North 0-2 3.8
South District 40-45 68
New Delhi, East, South-West, North-West 5-10 287
South West, New Delhi 10-20 410
South-West, South, New Delhi 20-40 247
East 2-5 465

What is the Delhi Jal Board mandate, what have they asked homes to do?

Considering the gap in supply and demand of water, and the ground water levels in some areas, the Delhi Jal Board has made it mandatory for all existing residential with an area of 500sq m and above, to install rainwater harvesting systems. There are around 10 areas where groundwater levels are reasonably high. Vetted by the Central Ground Water Authority , these areas will not be required to carry out RWH. These include Okhla, Siddharth Extension and Jahangirpuri.*

What effort does it take to Maintain a Rain Water Harvesting System?

Estimates suggest the cost of maintaining your rainwater harvesting setup could be of the order of Rs. 5k per year. You should get your tank cleaned 1-2 times a year based on the rainfall season in your region. Also make sure the inlets are not blocked with waste which could impede the flow of water. You could also use alum in the water to help the dust settle down to the bottom in order to make the water clearer for use, however ensure that you don’t use the water for cooking or drinking in that case.

 

If you’re looking to implement rain water harvesting in your Delhi home, BuildingBlox can help. Please fill the BuildingBlox Rainwater Harvesting Form and we will contact you.

*For  more details on the Rain Water Harvesting Mandate, do lookup the Delhi Jal Board website https://djb.gov.in

Tips on Being Considerate Towards Neighbours During Renovations

noisy neighbours

We all live in a closed society, amongst neighbours, and are interdependent on them. It is therefore, extremely important for all of us to ensure that we care for our neighbours. Many a times, we ignore our neighbours’ convenience while constructing and renovating our homes and offices. This isn’t really unethical, but being considerate would certainly go a long way in building a relationship with your neighbours. Here are a few tips on how you could be a bit thoughtful and integrate your neighbours’ conveniences while planning your project:

1)    Inform your neighbours’ about your renovation project and the scope of the same, weeks in advance. Say, you are planning to change the tiles of your apartment along with other things, the neighbours below should know about the dates when the same would happen, so that they can plan accordingly.

2)    Discuss the work schedule you have in mind, with your neighbours. They may have guests on certain days, or may have a baby or an elderly person at home who needs to be shifted out during the process. Some people may work in shifts and may find it inconvenient if your construction work takes place on certain days. Try and accommodate their needs as much as you can, and be extra sensitive if you have a baby or an elderly person as a neighbour.

3)    Share your contact details and that of your contractor, especially if you plan to shift out during the renovation process. This will communicate to your neighbours, that you will lend a ear in case they face any problems during the construction process.

4)    Let your contractor know how important the convenience of your neighbours is, to you. Ensure he addresses any concerns they have, especially those related to seepage, cleanliness, the work schedule, and the parking areas used by construction vehicles and the contractors etc.

5)    If your renovation process causes any damage to their premises, ensure your contractor tries to rectify the same, without charging them.

 

6)    If possible, invite your neighbours for dinner once your project is complete, so that they get a chance to see your new home/office.

All in all, try putting yourself in your neighbours’ shoes and make your renovation process as seamless as possible for them. If you cannot reach out to them for whatever reason, ensure that you don’t schedule any renovation that would result in excessive noise (demolition, marble work etc.) before 9.30 am, and post 8pm. If you can, also avoid the afternoon nap hours as well.

That said, some neighbours are never happy no matter what you do, so don’t fret over them excessively.

Renovation before the Monsoons

While many people curse the monsoons for stalling construction, the rains prove to be a good test of the quality of the construction.

roof1

  • Testing the Waterproofing: Monsoons are the best time to test your waterproofing without having to fill up the basement or the roof with water, manually, to test the seepage. You can easily check for leakages and see where the water is seeping from and take corrective measures.

Roof-drain-system

  • Testing the plumbing and drainage: While building, it’s important to check if the water is draining right and if the roof is slanting correctly. It’s important to check that the water doesn’t collect anywhere and then alter drainage, accordingly. Monsoons are the best time for such tests. This is also a good time to test the drain pipes and check for blockages.

wood swelling

  • Woodwork: wood tends to swell in the monsoons, hence it is a good idea to wax or oil the wood before the rains arrive. In any case, the wood may swell a bit, and it is important to cater to the same, before fixing the same in the house.
  • There is usually a gap between the floor and the door, through which rain water tends to get in. Monsoon is a good time to check this and build a mount or add a rubber contraption to the door to stop the water from entering the house.
  •  Walls: Monsoons are the perfect time to check all the interior walls, especially those in the bathroom and the kitchen, for any spots of dampness so that if there are any cracks these can be repaired and waterproofed right away.

Do take care of these three factors, while planning your renovation project.

7 Kitchen Design Ideas to Best Utilize Your Space

A kitchen reflects your personality and style. Want to know how organised a person is? Just take a look at their kitchen.

The one common grievance everyone has at home is that ‘there isn’t enough space’. Thanks to innovations in kitchen design, today we have a number of kitchen hardware options in the market that help us organize ourselves and also save space. If you’re designing a new modular kitchen, or renovating your old one here are some tips for you.

  • Pull Out Cabinets– Pull out cabinets organize, de-clutter and help utilize every inch of your cabinet space. You can easily access 100% of your cabinet space without kneeling or stooping, and also get heavier items from your cabinets with minimal effort. It’s best to place pull out cabinets below the kitchen counters and push up cabinets overhead, to make things more accessible and provide better ergonomics of working within the kitchen.pull out cabinet
  • Corner Sink/Wash Casket– The kitchen corner is often the toughest space to utilize, whether its inside the cabinets or on top of the counter. A corner kitchen sink, though often more expensive than a straight one, can be a good way to utilise the corner. Corner sinks are now being manufactured in India by brands such as Nirali, and are easily available. Corner sinks also add a unique visual appeal to your kitchen.

Corner-Sink

  • Magic Corners– Magic corners have also made a significant impact on how corners are used, these days. With these circular shelves pivoting around a rod, all you need to do is swivel, and things kept at the far end come to the front. There are L-Shaped variations to these as well, wherein the front part is pulled out and a side shelf magically appears.

Magic Corner

  • Dish Drying Cabinet– Having a dish drying rack over the sink makes life very convenient as the water falls into the sink straight. The rack can be concealed with a wooden front cabinet cover, like the rest of the shelves in the kitchen, so that it blends with the rest of the kitchen design. Thus the utensils can be dried without making the Kitchen look cluttered and compromising the design.

Dish drying rack

  • Piped Gas (Instead of cylinders to save on space)- If you live in an area where gas pipelines are available, you may want to consider getting a connection as it saves on space and is safer to use. However, if you don’t have that option, you could create a rack outside the house, to place the cylinders and connect it to your burner via a pipe.
  • Drawer Systems/Organizers– What could be more delightful than finding the potato peeler exactly when you require it? Modern kitchen drawer fittings transform cluttered drawers of cutlery, cooking spoons,or snacks, into an organizers delight!There are also plenty of attachments that can help you organise your pots and pans so you don’t have to sift through 10 of them before finding the one you’re looking for. Imagine the difference this could make to your cooking routine.

modular cutlery drawer

  • Wine Glass Holders– Keep your stemware protected and sorted using a Hanging Wine Glass Rack. The rack, which is easy to install, is placed on the ceiling of the cabinet and helps save shelf space the glasses would have otherwise taken up. If you’re wondering, these attachments are fairly easy to clean as well.

Wine Glass Rack

We will keep updating this list from time to time, to help you organise your kitchen better. In the interim, do share your ideas with us in the comments section.

Update 16 feb 2019

Here are some more innovative ways to maximize storage efficiency in your kitchen.

 

Hanging

Add hooks to any free areas to create hanging space for your pots and pans. This might be under the top cabinets or above the window.

 

 

Use the tops of your cabinets

Put rarely used crockery and cutlery into fill-up bins and store them above your upper cabinets.

 

 

Put in a shelf above your window

Window walls are usually wasted, add a shelf to make the most of the space.

 

Add shelves to your splash wall

Use the space between above and lower cabinets to store glasses and other small containers.

Hope you find these tips useful, we will be back with more shortly!

Be sure to leave your comments and suggestions.

Home Improvement: 6 Tips on How to Start

    A home renovation or home improvement project can be very chaotic; however, the following steps can make it much more organized than you think.

  • Browse Home Design Ideas

    It’s a good idea to start by building a sense for what you want in terms of the interior design of your space. Today there are plenty of options online to browse home design ideas and create your lookbooks, with Pinterest and Houzz being two of the most popular ones. Organize your thoughts by room, or project so you can tell your service providers what you’re looking for, and why.   Incorporate your design ideas and get a broad blueprint ready before you start your planning process.

  • Plan, Plan, Plan

    The most critical thing you can do at the start of a home improvement project is to spend time planning, and figuring out how to go about things. It can be vital in achieving higher quality, and lowering your renovation costs.  This will also avoid you from springing up last minute surprises on yourself and adding on little details at the last minute, spiking up your costs. This will also prevent you from constantly changing the scope of work, thereby avoiding delays and cost overruns.

  • Decide on the services you need

    Think about whether you need help with Interior Design, it comes at a price. Involving a designer doesn’t mean you don’t do your research on which designs you like and which you don’t. You also need to check if you have major structural work required, in which case you may need an Architect. Else, you would just need contractors to get your work done e.g. Carpenters, Plumbing, and Civil construction.

  • Determine your Budget

    While you may not have an understanding of what your project might cost you, it’s good to think about the outer limit of money you are willing to spend on getting your project done. Keep 10-20% aside in anticipation of cost over runs. The rest of it will essentially split into two buckets, services and products. For midmarket products, the thumb rule applies that the products to services cost ratio is 2:1. Picking luxury products or cheaper products can change this mix.

  • Find Contractors

    Next, you will probably need to start looking for contractors who can do the work for you. Try to find at least 2-3 people, whom you can get quotes from so it helps you validate your budget expectations. Take a look at the service provider’s work, through past references to evaluate which one best fits your needs.

    To find contractors, you could look online, ask your friends, or visit construction sites in your area and speak to contractors there.

  • Project Management

    All of the above should help you get started. However one key piece in making sure everything runs smoothly is project management. You need to have a level of supervision on your project. Whether you choose to give your own time, or hire a part-time/full time project manager, this is a layer that cannot be emphasized enough. Your project manager will help deal with the labor, ensure material arrives on time, check the quality of work and material, clean your place, and overall produce a higher level of quality of work that will last you longer and reduce mental stress (really!).

    Once you have the above steps in place you will realize that renovation need not bog you down. In fact, proper planning and your presence during the renovation can make the entire process stress free and effective as well.

Get creative by reusing old materials for sustainable and cost effective renovations.

Sustainable development begins from sustainable thinking. Before you begin building, do take a good idea of the direction of the breeze and sun at different times of the day. Speculate how seasons would change the course of the wind and light, and then build accordingly to optimize on the breeze and natural light, thus saving electricity consumption. Apart from this, here are few more points you may want to keep track of:

 

1) Re-Use whatever you can.

2) Dispose of material in a responsible manner. Recycle whatever you can.

3) Use effective insulation.

4) Try and use as much solar energy as possible.

5) See if you can create a small rainwater catchment and use that water for irrigating gardens.

6) If possible, create a roof garden to keep the interiors cooler.

7) Choose native plants that are accustomed to the climate, as they would require less water and maintenance

8) Refurbish furnishings to reduce landfills

9) Locate rooms most used (kitchen, lounge and bedrooms) on the side of the house orientated to the North. Locate rooms to take advantage of winter sun and cooling summer breezes. Thermal mass can be achieved by locating utility areas (laundries, bathrooms and garages) on the south or west where possible, avoid locating sleeping rooms on the west.

10) Consider window size and placement to promote and enhance cross- ventilation to the south, east and west.

 

Hope you find these tips useful. To look up some products that would help you create a sustainable home, Click Here

Work smart with BuildingBlox

Anyone involved in the construction business, or working on a project, would understand the importance of collaboration, planning, finding the right materials and verifying quotes.

What if you got it all with the click of a button, on one platform? Well, that’s what we at BuildingBlox.in are working towards. As the building industry moves into the era of cloud computing there is huge potential to improve our project planning processes. Whether it be product discovery or virtual collaborations with professionals, technology has opened up possibilities for a much more efficient and well-coordinated design process.

There is no need for architects to stock samples in their offices or to go out and spend hours on material sourcing. With our platform they can shortlist the products that they like and very quickly access information about such products. Similarly users can find service providers, view their portfolio and connect with them with a few clicks.

By placing these elements onto one platform we are creating a tool for professionals and end users to connect these dots and create a more transparent process of designing which will not only save time and costs but also allow sharing of knowledge and faster absorption of innovation in a rapidly transforming industry.

We hope you find the idea interesting and that you will share your valuable feedback and insights with us so that we can mould this platform into a truly groundbreaking tool. With this in mind we would love for you to join us and invite others from your network to do the same.