June 01, 2020

Bringing the Desert to Life, with Water!

In order to overcome water and livelihood issues faced by people across 30 villages in Jaitaran block of Pali District, western Rajasthan, Ambuja Cement Foundation joined hands with IndusInd Bank under its Jal Jeevan initiative in 2018-19 to 'Strengthen & Augment Rural Awareness & Livelihood' - with a key focus on harnessing the power of water harvesting to revitalize the area. Today, these communities are water self-reliant, which has better equipped them to prevent the onset of COVID-19.

Communities in this remote region face a hostile climate with maximum temperatures going above 50 degrees, along with frequent droughts creating famine conditions. Over exploited use of groundwater has impacted both the quantity and quality of water for both livelihood and household purposes - with high TDS and fluoride content making it not suitable for drinking purposes.

Of course the primary responsibility for fetching water fell on the shoulders of women, and became a daily routine - taking 3-4 such rounds over 4-5 hours in a day to store enough water to fulfill daily needs of the family and cattle at their households.

To tackle the problem, the project area was divided into 2 clusters and ACF commenced the promotion and construction of Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting Systems and the revival of village ponds and khadins to bring safe water back to the community.

In a short period of time, by working together hand in hand, with a common vision for revitalizing the area, ACF and IndusInd Bank have helped harvest an additional 10,19,773cum of rainwater which has benefitted 6000 households and 25,021 livestock. There has been a 30% increase in the area of land under irrigation during Rabi season and a significant decrease in women's drudgery due to water availability at their doorstep. Of significant note, 66% of the costs of the project have been contributed by the Community - with each family making a cost saving of Rs.6000 which was earlier spent on purchasing water from tankers.

All this has been achieved via the following:

  • RRWHS & Farm Tankas:
  1. 650 RRWHS constructed.
  2. Harvesting 84,76,637 Liter of Rainwater
  • Revival of Village Ponds:
  1. 22 Ponds revived
  2. 5,99,773 Cum Rainwater Harvested
  3. 53,505 Population & 19,915 Livestock benefitted
  • Revival of Khadins:
  1. 2 Khadins revived :
  2. 4,20,000 cum of Rain water harvested
  3. 3970 livestock benefitted
  • Repair of hand-pumps and toilets
  1. 50 Hand Pumps Repaired benefitting around 1300 HH.
  2. Approach to Toilet with Tanks Adopted and Almost 90 Toilets Repaired
Extensive work done on groundwater recharge and revival of traditional systems of water harvesting has increased the capacity and availability of water year round which means village communities are not facing water shortages during this critical time of COVID-19. Additionally, households with their own RRWHS are self-sufficient in water and can maintain social distancing.

When asked about how their lives have changed, the community has a renewed optimism about the future. Sushila Devi from Ber Kalan said "RRWHS is like my family member. I am very happy that now I don't have to go out to fetch water and we got rid of our daily problem. Now I am also focusing on to support my family by earning and can look after my children. I thank the entire team of Ambuja Cement Foundation and IndusInd Bank". 

Indra Devi, from Garrnia said "RRWHS has brought happiness and prosperity in our life. I am able to give more attention to family. I am very thankful to ACF and IndusInd Bank team. May God bless and give you everything."

Looking forward, the partners have aggressive plans to expand water work in the area in the 2020-2022 period by investing in the following:
  • 1100 RRWHS - To harvest 13200 Cum of rain water for drinking purpose, saving 50% cost of buying water tankers.
  • 40 Ponds Revival - To harvest 4,00,000 Cum of Rainwater, Augmentation in Groundwater recharge of 150 wells. Benefitting 25000 livestock.
  • 60 Farm Tanks - Will help 60 families without solid roof to harvest rainwater for drinking purpose ensuring water availability for 5 months.
  • 20 Farm Ponds - Will conserve 18000 Cum of rainwater to be used for agriculture activities reducing burden on groundwater and source of addition livelihood.
  • 2 Khadin 240 Hand Pumps - Khadin will harvest 4,00,000 Cum of rainwater. To recharge for 10 wells & tube wells.
  • 40 Acre Micro-Irrigation - 60% reduction of water in agriculture and increase in water use efficiency at least 20%
  • Aligned with Ministry of Jal Shakti (GOI) - "Har Ghar Jal" by 2024 in all rural households.

June 01, 2020

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