Rainwater Harvesting: Not Just an Option but A Necessity

Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

In a land-locked city like Pune, the value of water is inescapable. Factors such as climactic changes happening at a national and global level are causing water levels to fall. Overpopulation has resulted in more and more acquisition and development of land – and, even worse, for landfills, cutting back on water bodies that were once available and accessible.

Deforestation has further compounded the deficiency of water, as this causes regional rain to eventually become unpredictable. Several areas are critically affected by a dearth of usable water – a city like Pune is, actually, a prime example of the happening throughout India.

More and more of the world’s burgeoning populations will be moving to urban areas in the years to come. As a result of accelerated property development in our cities, the greatest requirement for critical resources such as water is focused in urban areas. As a consequence, multistory residential complexes are being constructed at an extremely rapid speed.

The earth’s surface is 70% water; yet, very little of this is actually usable or drinkable by humans. It is very likely that we will shortly reach a stage when the quantity of useable water present on the earth’s surface isn’t sufficient to satisfy all of the requirements of the development occurring to accommodate the growing population.

Rainwater harvesting is the solitary realistic option to counter the growing menace of rapid water depletion – and this real and present option is definitely catching on in our cities. Rainwater harvesting involves accumulating, filtering and storing rainwater to be utilized for assorted industrial and residential purposes.

Rainwater is a clean, free source of potable water. Rainwater harvesting used in residential properties, which involves trapping rainwater from roofs and directing it into underground storage tanks or cisterns, can satisfy 50% of a regular family’s water needs.

The truth is, rainwater harvesting isn’t just a strategy to make maximum use of the natural resource – it also has minimal environmental impact. Naturally, it leads to substantial price savings on recurring water charges in residential buildings. In a city like Pune, a huge number of residential societies are dependent on expensive water tankers which extract ‘hard’ water from borewells – a process which further depletes ground water levels and causes all kinds of associated problems to the environment.

Urban water supply calls for pumping stations in addition to putting up treatment plants and supply conduits. With the rate of increase in urban population, city planning authorities cannot match utilities in the majority of Indian cities. Engineers and geologists are constantly fighting to discover new sources of water.

With borewell shafts going deeper as the hunt for more water continues in cities like Pune, water supply can actually be significantly supplemented by rainwater and decrease the pressure on the usual water supply.

When rainwater is harnessed in a housing complex, it can be utilized for assorted non-drinking functions that call for substantial volumes of water. Because rainwater can complement the traditional water supply system, this means considerably reduced utility bills.

Rainwater harvesting is equally appropriate for large manufacturing units that use up substantial amounts of water. Such industries can reduce the pressure on groundwater by making use of rainwater for all their requirements.

A perfect fallback position

Climate change has caused significant disruptions in the weather patterns in lots of Indian cities, resulting is decreased rainfall. Rainwater can be collected, stored and used during drought seasons to complement the ordinary water supply. In cities like Mumbai and Pune, the dreaded bane of rationing and water shortage is mitigated with rainwater harvesting, which also reduces the dependence on dams and water reservoirs.

When rainwater harvesting systems are used by a sufficient saturation of residential buildings in a city, there is a substantial drop in pressure on drainage systems, thereby reducing the possibility of floods, soil erosion, and surface run-offs. Rainwater harvesting is a perfect solution especially in low-lying regions, which are usually prone to floods due to over-taxed drainage systems.

The use of rainwater harvesting systems allows groundwater levels to recharge, which in turn aids in enhancing urban greenery; in fact, this is actually the sole dependable means of having green places without leeching away from the direly needed water supplies within urban areas.

Simple to set up and use

Rainwater harvesting systems are simple to put up and operate. There is absolutely no requirement for the complicated purifying systems which need to be applied to cleanse groundwater, since rainwater is pure. Rainwater collection systems use modern yet extremely simple technology, and their care simply involves occasional cleaning of pipes and the storage tanks to ensure the rainwater gathered is not contaminated.

Actually, rainwater harvesting can be used by anyone. Installation of gutters is step one for buildings that lack them, together with a filtration system to make certain that any other sort of debris or leaves will not find their way into the storage tanks. Safety precautions include having locking bars or lids to stop the breeding of mosquitoes or other forms of pollution of the stored water. Catchment areas in a city may comprise paved regions for example roads and car parks, where water may be picked for several non-drinking purposes.

Need for more government support

Most of the municipality areas of cities like Pune have a huge number of housing projects which don’t have the required rainwater pits. In quite a few cases, the lack of space and the overall design of the project may not make rainwater harvesting pits feasible at all – but where it is possible, no effort should be spared to create them and put rainwater harvesting systems in place. New apartment projects must, of course, be engineered from the world ‘go’ to incorporate rainwater harvesting systems.

While all such measures have been implemented in the more progressive PCMC (Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation) of Pune, the speed at which the Pune Municipal Corporation is moving on this front leaves a lot to be desired. Rainwater harvesting is a standard feature in PCMC’s large integrated townships.

As rain is becoming noticeably scantier, the government has already begun undertaking measures to encourage residential societies, educational institutions, and similar buildings to optimize water use and exercise better principles of water economy.

The rapid, yet necessary proliferation of paved areas and roads in our cities is preventing the proper percolation of rainwater into the ground, and causing water bottlenecks on the outskirts. Establishing regularly spaced rainwater harvesting pits in urban localities is definitely the way to go, and must be implemented in cities like Pune without further delay. Additionally, the city authorities must put in greater efforts to educate citizens about the benefits and implementation of rainwater harvesting.

About The Author:

Anil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in West Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings. Woodsville in Moshi is another highly successful PCMC-based township by Pharande Spaces which is now in its 3rd phase.

PCMC’s Townships Save the Day for Pune’s Home Buyers

Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

Townships are a new property mantra in India, and for the bigger cities they’re without any doubt the sole remaining hope for good quality living standards. Slowly but surely, residential quality of life in cities like Pune are on the decrease, and township properties are rightfully getting increasing importance as the most logical response to the increasing need for quality-based living.

In cities such as the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, the ‘Infrastructure First’ strategy being employed by the governing authorities since several decades has served to provide highly adequate living conditions for PCMC residents. On the other hand, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has not been able to keep up to speed on its own infrastructure scenario. The heedless way with which real estate development has been taking place in Pune has not only resulted in a veritable concrete jungle but also made problems like traffic congestion, air and noise pollution and also water depletion much worse over the past several years.

PCMC – The New Townships Capital

In this depressing scenario, the massive integrated townships being developed in the booming city of PCMC has offered Pune’s citizens a new and invigorating lifestyle standard. In the PCMC, the integrated township revolution started in areas like Ravet and Moshi, and today the city’s leading developers have also established high-end townships in Punavale and on Spine Road.

Though negligence and greed are definitely operative factors in the illogical way the Pune Municipal Corporation has been developing, it also has certain limitations. In the first place, integrated township projects require substantial acreage, and large plots have essentially been completely used up in the central regions of the PMC. As consequence, the focus has now shifted to the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, where superlative support infrastructure, affordable property rates and a scientific approach to real estate development still make townships a very workable proposal.

In integrated townships, the issues are infrastructure shortfall and deteriorating living conditions are totally negated. These projects provide an extremely high grade of living standards, set to the backdrop of tasteful natural surroundings and adequate open spaces.

Providing township-level facilities in smaller residential projects would entail prohibitive prices for the developers – and the cost escalations would have to be passed on to the property buyers. Such facilities would immediately boost a smaller residential project into the luxury category, with consummate price implications to buyers. However, as a result of the economies of scale, township developers in the PCMC are giving the township lifestyle option to buyers at prices that reasonable and attractive. 

High-quality infrastructure, open spaces and instant accessibility to every requirement of day-to-day living in these townships result in a first-class lifestyle equation since all residents in a township gain from one big integrated and centrally managed system.

Township Properties – Higher Price but Ultimate Value

As already mentioned, when a builder offers township-level facilities in smaller housing projects, the prices to consumers are comparable to those of high-end luxury residences. In townships, the vast variety of facilities, fully-integrated infrastructure as well as the availability of schools, hospitals and shopping complexes within the premises obviously means that township properties come at a price that is somewhat higher than standard multi-storey flats.

On the other hand, the added expense is vindicated by the reality that people who buy into township properties are guaranteed a greatly superior living standard – not to mention vastly higher yields on investment.

For property buyers who just don’t desire to compromise on their lifestyle choices, the township properties of PCMC are the most logical and intelligent options. The direct benefits include a healthier life thanks to open spaces and greenery, complete security, the guarantee of high-grade infrastructure and facilities within the premises, and instant accessibility to recreational facilities and retail outlets. This results in a very high measure of convenience and comfort within an entirely cosmopolitan ethos.

About The Author:
 
Anil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in West Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings. Woodsville in Moshi is another highly successful PCMC-based township by Pharande Spaces which is now in its 3rd phase.

How Infrastructure Drives Real Estate Demand

– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

All property investors are familiar with the phrase ‘market drivers’, which has become one of the most utilized terms in real estate investment. What exactly are market drivers? They can be explained as advancements within a region which boost the overall worth of the location, and the desirability associated with residing there. It is a well-established fact that the infrastructure of an area is a key criterion for home buyers, and therefore property investors.

Infrastructure has numerous types. For instance, roads are considered key infrastructure, as they enhance the connectivity of the area. There is also civic infrastructure, which involves the availability of public services in the region. In India, the primary aspects covered under civic infrastructure are reliable water and electricity supply, without which an area falls flat as a residential location and therefore as a real estate investment destination.

infrastructure3

Then there is the factor of social infrastructure, which accounts for the liveability of the area. At the most basic level, civic infrastructure will include public transport and shopping outlets, but educational institutions and hospitals are also important. People expect to have colleges, schools and healthcare facilities close to where they live. Therefore, the level of saturation of social infrastructure will play a big role in the overall value of the location as a residential and investment destination.

The global standard for urbanization which is evident in most developed countries is that all or most of infrastructure required to make an area livable and desirable as a real estate destination are set up prior to or opening it up for large-scale real estate development. This is because efforts to put the necessary infrastructure in place retrospectively results in inconvenience to the existing population because of decreased public mobility during construction of such projects.

Retrospective construction of infrastructure projects also pollutes the environment during the actual construction process, and this is nothing but bad news in an area which is already inhabited.

Creating the infrastructure which is required to make a location liveable and also supportive to various economic functions can be compared to creating vast green cover in an area . In both instances, there is a primary requirement of adequate space. Another vital factor for successful infrastructure creation is time. In the case of trees, the root systems must be given adequate time to penetrate deep enough to provide anchorage as well as access to deep-lying groundwater. Similarly, infrastructure must be given enough time to be deployed, become functional and start servicing the area properly. Without space and time, both forestation and infrastructure creation become futile exercises.

infrastructure

If we take the cases of Pune and the adjoining Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), we see a vast difference in successful infrastructure deployment. In Pune, the PMC has been unsuccessfully trying to provide retrospective infrastructure support to its massively congested and largely dysfunctional city areas.

Almost every new infrastructure project in Pune is hotly contested by local political parties and becomes road blocked by bureaucratic red tape. One of the reasons is that these projects affect already populated areas, which represent vote banks. The result is that most of these projects take ages to be built, and many are eventually shelved altogether.

The advantage that the PCMC has enjoyed is that it follows a proactive rather than reactive approach to infrastructure creation. In other words, massive Greenfield areas are taken up by the town planning authorities for infrastructure creation, and only then  opened up for further development by private builders. This has resulted in extremely viable, plug-and-play residential neighbourhoods and commercial districts which start delivering the goods from day one.

This proactive approach to infrastructure has earned PCMC the distinction of being one of India’s most sought-after destinations to live and work in. PCMC’s superior infrastructure has attracted the highest number of multinational companies and industries to the region, and this has also led to the highest rate of employment creation in PCMC. As a result, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has emerged as the most preferred city for home buyers who are looking to live close to where they work – and simultaneously enjoy a superior quality of life.

About The Author:

Anil PharandeAnil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in Western Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings. Woodsville in Moshi is another highly successful PCMC-based township by Pharande Spaces which is now in its 3rd phase.

The Challenges And Opportunities Of Urbanization In India

– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

Most of the populations across the globe either live in cities or are headed there. It is estimated that by the year 2050, more than two-third of the world’s population will be settled in urban areas. The trend is already in place, with more than a million people shifting to cities every year. For countries like India, migration to developed and developing cities is driven by job opportunities and a better quality of life. However, rapid urbanization also brings its own challenges.

The Challenges In India

The relationship between population migration, urbanization and economic growth is complex. For developed countries like the USA or the European nations, there is a positive correlation between urbanization and per capita income. However, the equation is not as simple when we are talking of less developed countries like India. There is a thin margin between urbanization and overpopulation, and in many large Indian cities, the ‘carrying capacity’ has always been reached. Some relevant examples are Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore, where new migrants face a scarcity of affordable accommodation.

Congested city - small

It is important to understand the changes that migration to urban centres brings along. Urban growth or urbanization invariably feeds increasing industrialization and commercialization, which impacts the environment as well as infrastructural capabilities of a city. Increasing population also leads to continually expanding urban development and in the case of India, local Governments are continually challenged to deliver the necessary institutional, economic and managerial capabilities that such expansion requires. With lack of proper housing, most of the migrating population – especially those coming from the rural areas – settle for slums and other unregulated/unorganized living options.

Urban Congestion

The rapid inward migration in cities like Mumbai, Pune and Delhi has given rise to clogging and other problems like faulty water management and unnatural changes to the environment. The rapid creation of settlements in the peripheries of these saturated cities makes it impossible for the concerned city planning authorities to gauge and counter the changes to the natural environment and implement necessary sanitation and other necessary infrastructure.

Hijacked Environment

Major environmental issues encountered around clogging settlements include land degradation, resource depletion, decreased public health, loss of resilience in the ecosystem and unsafe residential standards. Health hazards are rampant as clogged settlements encourage flooding, degradation of natural resources like water table and air quality, faulty or non-existent drainage systems, inefficient or non-existent sewage treatment facilities and transport systems.

urban landscape

As a matter of fact, India faces a major threat from water pollution. Untreated sewage water being discharged into our existing water systems has been deemed the single-largest cause of surface and ground water pollution. The problems include lack of sufficient water treatment facilities and faulty maintenance where they do exist. Migration contributes to this problem, and the untreated waste water leads to serious hygiene issues. As per the reports by the World Health Organization, only 209 out of 3,119 cities have sewage treatment facilities, and just 8 of them have a full-fledged wastewater treatment facility.

Success Story – PCMC, Pune

There are ways to handle the mounting problems associated with heavy urbanization. The first and foremost is the development of low-cost and affordable housing projects around developing cities. The second is a proactive town-planning approach wherein urbanization is anticipated rather than reacted to, and necessary infrastructure to accommodate inward migration is put in place before it actually arrives.

green urbanization

Cities like the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) of Pune have demonstrated that this forward-looking approach works brilliantly in India. In PCMC, the town planning authorities identify areas of future urbanization, equip them with proper drainage systems, water supply, waste management and transport infrastructure and only then open them up to the migrating population.

Along with environmental and health issues, inward migration also affects the inherent culture of the city – and at least in this case, the change is invariably a positive one. With people flooding in from across the country, the host city is exposed to a variety of cultures and eventually adopts new cultural norms. This is the essence of ‘cosmopolitanization’ – the process in which a city evolves from its traditional cultural boundaries and becomes more and more accommodating to new influences.

This is a very desirable process which ‘future proofs’ a city and ensures that urbanization is progressive and not regressive. A city’s cosmopolitan ethos is born out of constituent cultural elements from various other cities and parts of the world, resulting in an urban mindset which is able to embrace positive change in the form of new economic opportunities and better lifestyle standards.

The process of cosmopolitanization in PCMC has resulted in a rapid shedding of the previous regional/industrial image and the emergence of a truly evolved global ethos. The ‘Citizens First’ approach which has driven the rational and progressive urbanization of cities like PCMC and other global cities must always be the central focus if India is to tackle its mounting problems of inward migration.

About The Author:

Anil PharandeAnil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in Western Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings. Woodsville in Moshi is another highly successful PCMC-based township by Pharande Spaces which is now in its 3rd phase.

PCMC’s Integrated Townships: Redefining Traditional Luxury

– Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

Indian luxury real estate is in rapid evolutionary mode, and few of the previously accepted definitions of a luxury home have stood the test of time. For luxury home developers, the challenge has shifted from offering a number of attractive add-ons to providing a well-rounded residential experience that transcends luxurious exteriors, interiors and amenities.

Luxury townships are the obvious answer to the questions today’s buyers are asking. They are not looking for mere glamour – because of the mounting challenges of urban life in cities like Pune, they are also looking for superior infrastructure, cutting-edge security and project management and a walk-to-work option. These are obviously not an option in standalone luxury buildings – nothing less than a fully integrated luxury township can provide such advantages.

puneville2

A number of Indian developers who previously specialized in traditional luxury residential projects – one or two snazzy buildings in a tony part of town where ‘address value’ accounts for a massive price premium – have therefore shifted their focus to the township format. This is because luxury living in today’s context is a 360-degree lifestyle equation which cannot be limited to elegant superficialities.

The buyer profile for integrated luxury townshipspuneville is also different today. These are not HNIs hailing from families with protracted histories of wealth – they are young, self-made entrepreneurs, the corporate upper management cadre and high-placed Information Technology professionals.

This new breed of luxury home buyers is not swayed by impressive addresses and the other factors which dictated how luxury was interpreted in the past. They are looking for the aspects that spell genuine luxury today – convenience, safety, reliable water and electricity supply, modern recreational facilities, on-the-spot availability to essential services like hospitals, schools and shopping, and good internal and external connectivity.

punevilleThey will not spend their hard-earned money on an expensive location but invest in a superior living experience for themselves and their families. Moreover, the traditional CBDs of cities like Pune are no longer the areas which yield the most lucrative jobs – the IT and manufacturing hubs in modern satellite cities like the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) are the next employment hotbeds which are driving both the demand and trend for high-end homes.

This luxury home buyer demographic is highly tech-savvy and environmentally conscious, and attributes a lot of value to ‘smart’ and ‘green’ features – not only at a residence level but at a project level. Again, this is only possible in integrated townships, and this is what has spurred the growth of PCMC’s ultra-modern townships over the last decade.

These townships offer their residents:

  • Broad, well-lit internal roads
  • 24×7 water and electricity supply
  • Multiple user parking per unit
  • Multi-level security
  • Green open spaces
  • Conveniences  such as shopping malls, banks, schools and hospitals within the project
  • Easy connectivity to other parts of the city
  • Modern recreational facilities

The best integrated townships also include high-grade commercial spaces and give residents the ultimate luxury – the walk-to-work option. Obviously, this new definition of luxury living provides a stark contrast to the traditional concepts of luxury homes, which was usually tied to a vanity address in an exorbitantly pricey location. Though older luxury buildings in the core areas of cities like Pune are invariably redeveloped into luxury skyscrapers, there is nothing that can be done about the fact that the locations themselves are cramped, polluted, devoid of support infrastructure and often hemmed in by slums and tenements.

While the window view from a luxury home in such a setting is usually one of chaos and urban decay, the corresponding view from a home in an integrated township is one of greenery, orderliness and unpolluted air. No wonder, then, that the younger and smarter generation of luxury home buyers today prefers the benefits of contemporary luxury far away from such areas. Integrated townships are their obvious choice.

About The Author:

Anil PharandeAnil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in Western Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings. Woodsville  in Moshi is another highly successful PCMC-based township by Pharande Spaces which is now in its 3rd phase.