Training Programme: Planning and Designing of Rainwater Harvesting Systems

Dates: February 10 - 12, 2021
Venue: Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute (AAETI), Nimli, Rajasthan
Language of Instruction: English 

School of Water and Waste, CSE organised a 3-day residential training programme on ‘Planning and Designing of Rainwater Harvesting Systems’ at Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute (AAETI) from 10- 12 February, 2021.

The training aimed to help build a community of practice in individual households, Resident Welfare Association (RWA) and consultants (architects / engineers/ planners) to strengthen basics as well as step by step guide to design and implement rainwater harvesting systems at an individual and neighbourhood scale. The training will also provide guidance on how to engage with relevant stakeholder aimed at building water prudent sustainable communities. The purpose of this advanced training is to help students, working professionals and environmental enthusiasts learn state-of-art concepts and principles of planning and designing rainwater harvesting systems.

Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been prepared by the admin dept. of CSE, taking into account all Covid-19 precautions and social distancing measures, which have been followed during the residential training at AAETI.

The training programme involved a diverse group of batch with total of 26 participants which comprised of  young, mid-career and experienced professionals from different expertise like planners (East Kolkata Wetlands Management Authority, Environment Department, Govt. of West Bengal), architects (Royal Global University, Betkuchi, Guwahati), consultants (M/S Shramik Surakhya Enterprise, Odisha), engineers (CDD Society, Bengaluru, Water For People India Trust, Kolkata/ Delhi, CEG TEST HOUSE and Research Centre Private Limited, Jaipur), researchers (Centre for Management & Social Research), academicians (Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar, Indus University) and students (CPCEE) involved in urban water management.

The training programme started on February 9, 2020 at CSE’s, Tughalaqabad office where all the participants were assembled for a short tour/lecture on the rainwater features designed at CSE office, followed by lunch. The participants and the training team departed for AAETI, Nimli for further sessions.

Day 1 of the training at AAETI started on February 10, 2020 with a campus tour of AAETI conducted by Mr Dhruv Pasricha, Programme Officer, CSE, where he showcased the various green features of AAETI for rainwater harvesting and decentralised wastewater treatment and reuse. This was followed by an interactive introductory session with the participants as an ice-breaker. Further Dr Suresh Kumar Rohilla, Senior Director, CSE, continued with a brief introduction about CSE, its ideals, core principles and its role in the water sector. He provided the context for the training programme, by highlighting the issues in urban water management and the need of rainwater harvesting in India while motivating the participants to ‘catch water where it falls’.

The first session of the day was conducted by Ms Nupur Srivastava, Programme Manager, CSE, on ‘Institutional framework, Regulations and Governance in Rainwater harvesting systems’ where she discussed on the role of ministries with states and urban local bodies and policies and regulations to promote rainwater harvesting. She highlighted legal provisions and action taken by various cities and states to incorporate rainwater harvesting. She also showcased some best practices in various cities of India like Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and latest provision of RWH in Smart City Mission, AMRUT Programme, Jal Shakti Abhiyan etc.  She concluded her session with a detailed discussion with participants on water governance and building bye laws enforcement and monitoring in their respective cities.

This was followed by a session on ‘Urban Water Conservation Strategies’ by Mr Dhruv Pasricha. He showcased various water conservation strategies at building and neighbourhood scale starting straight from the demand side management to water saving potential of various interventions. He also discussed in detail about scope of average water savings through water efficient fixtures, rating systems in India and water requirement reduction by recycle. He also confronted water audit and water balance aspects of water conservation with some hands-on exercises for estimating flow rate of faucets and showerheads at AAETI hostel rooms.

Post lunch, session on ‘Contemporizing Traditional Water-Architecture’ delivered by Ar. Anu Mridul, Principal Architect, A. Mridul Architect- Jodhpur, Rajasthan. He showcased the traditional water network of water bodies of city Jodhpur with a detailed case study of contemporized planning and designing of traditional rainwater harvesting structure, Birkha Bawari – A 21st century step-well in India which was built in Umaid Heritage Housing township in Jodhpur with a capacity to hold water over 17.5 million litres. The significant features of the bawari includes that it has been constructed of site-quarried sandstone, built by local craftsman, to harvest a renewable resource without expending non-renewable energies.

The day was concluded with a very interactive online session with participants by Mr S. Vishwanath, Director, Biome Environmental Solutions, Bangalore. He showcased an excellent example of rainwater harvesting at individual scale of his own house sans-souci that is self-sustainable, eco-friendly, enhances biodiversity on site and reduces wastage to its bare minimum.  The house Sans Souci is built with earth excavated from the site itself and harvest rainwater, reuse greywater, have a composting toilet. He also discussed on composting and reusing kitchen waste and use solar energy for lighting and water heating. The session was followed by a documentary, which showcased a successful implementation of the RWH systems.

Post sessions, in the evening participants were engaged in some enthusiastic volleyball and table tennis matches.

On Day 2 participants and trainers went for a morning forest trek in the Aravallis. The sessions began with a quick reflection sessions on the learnings of the previous day, and how they fed into the upcoming sessions. Day 2 focused on holistic approach to planning and designing rainwater harvesting systems with sessions delivered by Ms Shivali Jainer, Programme Manager, CSE. She conducted a session on ‘Data requirement and components of RWH systems where she introduced the basic concept, need, terms used in RWH and its components. She also discussed on what type of data required to plan and design RWH? What are the sources? and what analysis and outcome can be expected from them. The session was concluded with a group exercise where the participants were divided in four groups and allocated different land uses: Residence, Hotel, School and Group Housing. They were required to prepare a data checklist for RWH and make a presentation.

Post lunch, the following session was on ‘Planning and designing of RWH systems’ and ‘SUDS Approach: Planning and Management’ by Ms Shivali Jainer. The session was focused on design considerations for RWH and the design rules for SUDS component. In addition to design principles, she also also provided various thumb rules for designing, and how the various components of RWH and SUDS can blend within the landscape and aesthetics of urban built form. On special demand by a participant she also deliberated a session on ‘Options and Techniques for RWH in Parks’ for cities Bhubaneshwar and Delhi.

Taking the planning and designing forward, a session on ‘Filtration Systems’ was delivered by Mr Dhruv Pasricha. He discussed the process involved for filtration and types of filters, their suitability and cost available in the market. This was followed by a session on ‘Operation, Maintenance and Monitoring of RWH systems’, conducted by Ms Shivani, CSE. The session focused on the importance of O&M for the long term sustainability of RWH components. With a focus on RWH Ms. Shivani threw light on the various O&M activities which were supposed to be done in order to render smooth functioning of the systems. She had also put across a brief on the stakeholders involved for O&M of individual and community RWH systems. Key takeaways included the scheduling of various activities and skills required to maintain the system. The session was supported by a brainstorming exercise. The last session for the day was conducted by Ms Nupur Srivastava on ‘Rainwater Harvesting Economic Feasibility’ where she discussed on different parameters affecting the cost of RWH systems and budgeting a RWH system. She also demonstrated the participants on how the economic feasibility of rainwater harvesting systems can be quantified through payback period calculation.

The rest of the day was allocated for the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) exercise Planning and Designing RWH systems at different scales, landuses and city contexts. Participants were divided in four groups where they had to plan and design a conceptual plan of RWH structures for a Residence in Bengaluru, an institutional School at Guwahati, a Hotel in Delhi and residential township in Pune. Datasets provided included briefs of the cities, site plans, instructional guide, excel sheets to calculate potential of rainwater, etc. Participants were very enthusiastic and worked on the group exercise till late in the evening.

Day 3 of the training started with the winding up on the group exercise and final presentations on the conceptual RWH system plan by the participants. The participants were provided 7 minutes to present, and 3 minutes for Q&As. The participants were scored on the basis of methodology adopted, design strategies, applicability and presentation style of their presentations. The presentations were appreciated by the trainers, and it was observed that a perspective for planning and designing of RWH was developing in the participants. After a detailed feedback session moderated remotely by Dr Suresh Rohilla on how the learnings can be involving, put forward and implemented. The participants then travelled from AAETI to New Delhi for a site visit to Nizamuddin East Colony. They showed a very encouraging and positive feedback on the training content, methodology and arrangements regarding COVID-19 precautions. The final day of the training concluded with an insightful site visit with Ar. Vandana Menon showcasing RWH project in Nizamuddin East Colony taken by the community in the residential area where the problem of water logging was addressed essentially.

Training Coordinator

Nupur Srivastava
Programme Manager
Water Programme
Mobile: +91-7506843420

Training Director

Dr. Suresh Kumar Rohilla
Senior Director & Academic Director (School of Water and Waste, Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute – AAETI)



List of participants
Overall, an excellent learning platform with CSE. 5 on 5 for the course structure, methodology and training environment. There is more to learn and take from here. Looking forward to more interactions. Looking forward to enhance my skill set through CSE courses.

- Vikash K Agarwal, Consultant
Ram Swarup Traders Pvt Ltd (RSTPL), Assam
Had a great experience at AAETI Campus and gain lots of Learning from the teaching faculties. I appreciate a lot for the same and would sincerely like to thank CSE for lending me such an amazing opportunity to attend this workshop. Also It would be an honour, if I could by any means contribute to CSE or AAETI for spreading these leaning or working for the same. Thank you!

Nirmay Shah, Architect, Anant national university, Ahmedabad
Training was good. Required all PPT for implementing & reference

Elit Chakraborty
Project Engineer, Water For People India Trust , Kolkata
Thank you so much Dr. Rohila, Nupur, Shivali, Dhruv and Shivani. You all are a great team. It was a great venture. We all enjoyed a lot. Definitely looking forward to bring the knowledge on ground. Thanks for everything.

Dhanashree Mirajkar
Associate Professor
DYP School of Architecture, D Y Patil University, Pune, Ambi
It was a great training program experience of rainwater harvesting at AAETI. Thank you every faculty member and Dr. Rohilla Sir for such a wonderful hospitality. There was so much quality content & aspects to keep in mind while designing RWH. Overall, it was a great fun of learning & building new connections at AAETI.

Thank you so much & looking forward to more learning.

Abhijit Waghre
M.Tech Student Shri Guru Gobind Singhji Institute of Engineering and Technology, Vishnupuri, Nanded
The overall experience is wonderful and gain so much knowledge! I would recommend my colleagues and juniors for future trainings. And at last a special thanks to the organising members and the speakers.

Prashant singh
Khandelwal College of Architecture and Design, Bareilly
The hospitality of the AAETI Campus Staff was extraordinary & the learning environment was very inclusive.

Shweta Das
Assistant Professor
Royal Global University, Betkuchi, Guwahati
Feeling great to be a part of this training. A perfect blend of people and dedicated team made it awesome.

Vishnu Saini
Business Development Executive
CEG Test House and Research Centre Private Limited, Jaipur