66-YO Bengalurean is growing a cheap RWH system and has not purchased any water for six years


Sampath S is a 66 year old retired banker living in Bengaluru. For the past six years he has only used rainwater for his household purposes.


S.ampath S is a 66 year old retired banker living in Bengaluru. When he was building a house in Jakkur six years ago, he decided to install an underground water tank with a capacity of 40,000 liters. That’s a lot of water. And best of all, everything is filled with rainwater, which he filters using DIY methods that work.

“I used to live in RT Nagar, where the water supply in Cauvery was sufficient for all of my needs. But in Jakkur, supplies were not available and I found myself in a situation where I either had to use drilling water or buy it from tankers. The latter appeared expensive and drilling water was unsuitable for consumption as the water table in the area had dropped to more than 600 feet. So I decided to harvest rainwater for both drinking and household purposes. But I accepted it as a challenge and decided to install it myself, ”says Sampath.

First he installed commercially available filters with self-cleaning properties. Not only were these expensive, they also produced too much discarded water, and Sampath was dissatisfied. Then he switched to a more manual method and used DIY filters made from cotton or nylon cloth.

“These were maintenance-intensive because every time the rain started, someone had to be next to them. The cloth collects dirt in the water flowing from the patio. This would need to be cleaned every 15-20 minutes; Otherwise the material would be damaged. When it rained heavily, the cloth would sometimes tear through the cloth and all the impurities would flow into the tank, ”says Sampath.

After experimenting with different methods last year, he settled on an effective solution that provided not only water for household purposes but also potable water.

Inexpensive rainwater harvesting systemSampath S stands next to the inexpensive rainwater harvesting system.

DIY rainwater harvesting filter

To build an effective harvesting system, Sampath did a lot of research on the internet and understood the concept of filtering water from the patio.

Using 20 liter paint buckets that were empty after his house was built, and wire mesh, he was able to build a filtration system from scratch.

The PVC pipe that brings water from the patio ends 6 feet above the ground. Here Sampath placed a T-pipe that allows the water to flow in two directions. First, towards a soaking pit where the first rinse water is collected during the first 15 minutes of precipitation.

“This rinse water contains impurities that have accumulated on the terrace and in the pipe. After 15 or 20 minutes, the value for the soaking pit closes and the value for the filter system opens, ”adds Sampath, adding that this is a manual process.

With the help of L-angle stands, three pairs of paint buckets were mounted on the wall. A hole is made in the lid of the bucket through which the PVC pipe that brings water from the terrace can enter the pipe. An angled pipe is attached here so that water can fall into it.

Stage 1 filtration

It will take two paint buckets of the same amount – one to allow water to enter and be filtered, and the other to create an outlet.

“The rainwater pipe partially enters the bucket so that the water can fall into it by force. This pushes the contaminants onto the sides. Create four openings in the bottom of the inner bucket and make a slot along the perimeter, an inch above the base, to insert the mesh. At the bottom of the outer bucket, create a circular outlet for a PVC pipe to take water to the next stage, ”says Sampath.

Inexpensive rainwater harvesting systemStage 1 outlet with PVC pipe.

How do I place the net?

The net is cut to a size 1 inch larger than the circumference of the bucket. By making a slot on the edges of the bucket, the net is pushed into the ground. The outside hanging extras are glued to the sides of the bucket with industrial glue that keeps it in place. To ensure there were no gaps for the water to leak through, Sampath M Seal plastered along the edges where the slot was made.

A net used as an insect or mosquito net can be placed at this stage. In the first stage, solid impurities should be stopped.


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Inexpensive rainwater harvesting systemExternal view of the inner bin.

Stage 2 filtration

The second pair of buckets, placed under the first, is constructed differently and uses filters on the sides of the inner bucket. Even the network used is different here.

In addition to four openings in the bottom of the bucket, there are also two large openings on the sides. The mesh must also be placed to cover these openings and sealed with M Seal.

While the first has a mesh with larger holes, the second stage has a mesh of 75 microns. This will help stop any debris that may have gotten through the first bucket.

Sampath points out that it is important to use a 304 stainless steel mesh as it will not rust easily.

Inexpensive rainwater harvesting systemFilters on the sides of the inner bin.

Eventually the water flows into the third bucket through a similar outlet.

Stage 3 filtration

Here the bucket is set up the same way as in stage 1, but the mesh is 50 microns, has very fine holes and can stop small contaminants like sand. As soon as the water flows through this filter, the outlet is connected to the underground tank where rainwater is stored.

Sampath says: “The underground storage facility has a capacity of 40,000 liters, divided into three interconnected tanks. As soon as one tank is full, it is automatically spilled into the next. Apart from that, I have another 10,000 liter storage tank on the terrace, which is connected to the underground tank via a motor. “

maintenance: To ensure the filter is working effectively, Sampath recommends removing the buckets and hosing down the filters to remove the solid contaminants. This prevents clogging in the future and eliminates any filtered insects. He also points out that keeping the patio clean and sweeping regularly will also help maintain the filtration system.

Today, with just a few hours of rain, Sampath can collect 50,000 liters of water on its 1,700 square meter terrace.

Help others

While three levels of filtration are recommended, you can even filter rainwater with the first two levels.

Mohan M, who knows Sampath through a common WhatsApp group, installed the two-stage filter system in his house a few months ago. Although he took the help of a plumber to set up the system, he said it didn’t cost him more than Rs. 20,000.

He says: “Although I have a 10,000 liter underground storage tank, I have also installed external 5,000 liter tanks to store the rainwater. To set up the system, we first visited Sampath’s house to get an idea of ​​what he is doing and with his help procured the necessary materials – mostly wire mesh – from suppliers in Bengaluru. The plumber followed Sampath’s instructions and helped us install the filtration system. We used to buy tank water, but for the past three months we’ve only used rainwater for household purposes, to drink and wash my car. “

Inexpensive rainwater harvesting systemA two-stage filter system.

If you would like to install the system or learn more about the process, you can contact Mr. Sampath here – sampaths144@gmail.com

(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)


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