Climate change is leading to floods in some cities and drought in some cities over the world. For Chennai, it is both. Over the years, the rapid industrialization and urbanization of the city have led to a severe water crisis. As Chennai grew, vast areas of the surrounding floodplain, along with its lakes and ponds, disappeared. In 2015, Chennai suffered its worst inundation in a century as 494 mm of rain hit the city in a single day. The resultant floods forced many out of their homes. In many places, water reached the second floor of the buildings.

Four years later it was a completely different scenario, shortage of water in the city made the headlines. All main reservoirs ran dry, forcing the government to truck in drinking water. People stood in lines for hours to fill containers.

In sharp contrast to the woes in Chennai is well-thought-out townships like Hiranandani Parks in Oragadam which has invested in storm-water drains and sewage systems to prevent flooding, rain-water harvesting, sophisticated water treatment plant and blessed with a stable groundwater table, natural greenery along with an ecologically healthy eco-system.

Planning is vital

At Hiranandani Parks, careful planning right from the initial stages when the township was developed played an important factor in creating this water-rich township. It boasts of an efficient network of infrastructure that matches the contours of the surrounding natural landscape. The focus on eco-friendly practices also helps.

“The intelligent usage of water including rainwater harvesting, sewage treatment, and well-managed water distribution system helps Hiranandani Parks to access the water that would have normally been waste or are allowed to just flow away,” says Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Group.

To start with, the 360-acre sports-themed township has a proper, well-connected, and well-maintained stormwater drain system and is one of the reasons why Hiranandani Parks is not impacted in any of the floods. During the rainy season, apart from preventing the rainwater from flooding the roads and walkways, the stormwater drains help to store and replenish the water bodies located within the township.

The cutting-edge sewage treatment plant at the township scores high on self-sustainability. Across the Hiranandani Townships, on average, 50% of the water demand is met by recycling and reusing water through Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), explains Dr Niranjan Hiranandani. “Used water is treated through Sewage Treatment Plants and the water generated is used for gardens and toilets. For example, at Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, about 2 MLD is treated at central plants and 2.5 MLD is treated at package plants at different locations.”

Through the treatment of wastewater, the amount of waste that is released into the environment is considerably reduced, thereby improving the environment’s health. This, in turn, reduces the health risk associated with environmental pollution and the nearby water bodies remain uncontaminated. The treated water is also reused for toilet flushing, one of the household’s biggest uses of water, along with other uses such as watering the gardens in the township. The sludge collected during the treatment process contains a large amount of biodegradable material. Using the sludge drying process, it is converted into a natural biodegradable fertilizer, which is used to increase the crop yields at the gardens.

The state-of-the-art water treatment plant at Hiranandani Parks treats and supplies round-the-clock water to the residents. Installed with a capacity of 2.34 MLD (Millions Of Liters Per Day), which can fulfill the needs of more than 5000 households, it meets the daily requirements of the residents, rain or shine.

Hiranandani Parks, Oragadam also boasts of a strong groundwater level. The presence of water bodies within the 360-acre township and the green cover that includes thousands of trees and 70% open space with vegetation play a significant part in recharging the groundwater table.