Isn’t this flower different and wonderful? In addition to adding to the beauty of our garden, this plant can also do a very important function – it can purify greywater (that is let out from our bathrooms and kitchens) and increase the amount of water in our ground water table.
In a house, water is continuously released into the drainage from various sources. Except the toilet, the water from remaining places (bathroom, kitchen, washing machine, etc.) can be recycled and made to seep through the ground and join the ground water table, so that more water is available for fetching from the well. The plants shown (above and below) do the job of recycling/purifying greywater, before they join the ground water table.
This plant is called Canna Indica, Kal Vazhai – Tamil, a species of the Canna genus. It seems, these plants grow pretty fast and are an invasive species – some demarcation is required to prevent them from spreading to the entire garden. We can place bricks around the area where they are grown (to prevent them from spreading), for example.
Look at the above set-up – it shows a simple, organic way to recycle greywater (the water from bathroom and kitchen). Greywater is/should be brought out of the house using a separate pipeline and it is usually directed into the drainage. Instead, you can catch and divert this water using a plastic mug with a hole (you can use a flame to create the hole). A hose is connected to the hole, and water is guided over to the land where the above mentioned Canna Indica plants are planted. The greywater now flows through the plants, gets purified, seeps down into the soil and joins the water table.
As you might have guessed by now, some plumbing work maybe required to separate water from the toilet and bathroom/kitchen, if it is not already carried out of the house using separate pipelines. Generally it is. If you are building a new house, you can plan for greywater recycling also.
The main reason to do greywater recycling is to avoid wastewater from joining & polluting waterways (streams, rivers, sea – where drainage water is directed to, in many cases), and to increase the ground water table in your area so that you can be sure of having enough water, even during the summer.
Some maintenance maybe required occasionally – If the plants are destroyed during floods, for example, you need to remove the mug/hose out so that the greywater just flows into the drainage (the water was just diverted earlier – remember?)
I thank Dr. Indukanth S. Ragade for allowing me to see the greywater recycling set-up created (by him) in his residential apartment complex, and for spending his valuable time explaining how it works.