Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Vidhana Soudha - Miracle in Stone, Brick and Mortar

Vidhana Soudha - Miracle in Stone, Brick and Mortar

Vidhana Soudha is very, very special, especially to someone obsessed with roofs and walls and drains! Go around the entire building and you will not see a single rainwater pipe anywhere. This is because Vidhana Soudha has been designed as an inward-looking building, which means that water flows into the two courtyards.
There are down water pipes on the walls of these courtyards. Rainwater is discharged at the ground level and goes into an underground drain. But again, no one seemed to know where this drain is located. I nosed around and discovered a well-formed tunnel, again 15 ft below ground level, towards the southern side of the building. But my joy was short-lived. I couldn’t find the exit point of this tunnel and I couldn’t find any drawings of the building’s drainage system.
However, all that scrambling on the roof of the High Court had taught me some valuable lessons! I took a few bottles of blue ink, mixed it in buckets of water and poured the coloured water through the down water pipes in Vidhana Soudha. Again, I went around the building to see if I could catch sight of the inky blue trail!
And here’s what I discovered:

·         There are no drains within a 1/2-km radius of Vidhana Soudha. But 1 ½ km away – at Century Club’s rear gate – the tunnel that I discovered opens! The inky blue water had started coming out of this drain, a good 1 ½ km away, after 30 minutes of my having poured it down the roof of Vidhana Soudha!
·         Unfortunately, the water had got mixed with sewage and discharge from nearby canteens, rendering it useless. Treating this water would be like treating sewage!

Returning to Vidhana Soudha, I decided to collect rainwater in a ‘ring main’ inside the building. Vertical pipes were interlinked on the walls of Vidhana Soudha at a certain height above ground level where they would not intercept doors, windows or porticos etc. Water from these pipes could be channeled to a filteration point, but where?

·         Water cannot be stored inside the courtyards because they have hard rock beneath the surface.
·         Water cannot be brought out of a building which has 5 ft-thick walls made of solid stone!

We were very lucky to find 2 weak points in the entire building which we exploited to the hilt!
Vidhana Soudha has a basement on the Southern side near the Archaeology Department and Treasury. Through the ventilator in the basement, we laid two 12-inch pipes and constructed filtration systems.
The water was routed underground to the garden area and collected in 2 large underground sumps – one that lies between Vikasa Soudha and Vidhana Soudha near Gopala Gowda Circle, and the other which is located next to Kengal Hanumathaiah’s statue. The harvested rainwater is used round the year to keep the gardens around Vidhana Soudha green.

Currently 50% of the roof area on the southern side of the Vidhana Soudha is being considered for RWH.  With annual rainfall of 971 mm, total roof top rainwater available per year is 53,20,000 liter.