May 26, 2020

Creating Water Sufficient Households in Rajasthan

Self-sufficient households in terms of water, are not only better equipped to survive severe climate variability and drought, but in the times of COVID-19 are better able to adhere to social distancing and hygiene norms to prevent spread of the virus. In 2014-15, ACF joined hands with a financial institution to install over 200 rooftop rainwater harvesting systems in remote Rajasthan and the results speak for themselves …

In parched Rajasthan, shortage of water is a major crisis for communities, exacerbated by prolonged dry summers and erratic rainfall. However, people have lived in the desert state for centuries and there are many proven traditional and modern ways in which communities can become sustainable in terms of water.

To highlight this, ACF joined hands with a leading Financial Institution to ensure drinking water for 200 poor and marginalized families of Marwar Mundwa Block in Nagaur District and Jaitaran Block in Pali District. Each of these families was equipped with a Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting Structure (RRWHS) to capture precious rainwater and store it for household use throughout the year. Each RRWHS constructed had a 12,000 litre capacity which was sufficient to meet the drinking and cooking water needs for a family of 5-6 members, for at least 250 days in a year.

Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting is the cheapest way of accessing potable water in the remote areas of the country. The need for maintenance and repair of RRWHS is also low as the structure poses no major operational challenges for the user. Only periodic cleaning and replacement of pipes is required after 4-5 years.

To initiate work on the RRWHS, there were certain criteria laid out to select villages & families. Priority was given to: -
  • Families belonging to scheduled caste and scheduled tribes, 
  • Widows/single women headed families, 
  • Persons with disabilities 
  • Those with chronic illness who were bread earners of the family, 
  • Landless and agricultural labourers and small marginal farmers.
The selection of villages depended on areas facing acute water availability, poor quality of drinking water and where villagers had to travel long distances to source water expending time and energy.

In 2015, ACF commenced construction of 100 RRWHS units at Rabriyawas and 100 units in Marwar Mundwa and by mid year, all units were completed. The project provided financial and technical support to poor families to harvest rainwater from their roofs for use as clean drinking water. 

The simple project led to safe and adequate drinking water at the doorstep of households - improving health conditions, reducing women's drudgery, and decreasing stress on groundwater resources.

Kaddudi Devi, a 60-year-old widow, from Bhadana Village shares that her life has improved considerably since constructing the RRWHS - "Earlier, I used to bring drinking water from ground level reservoir and Pond which is approximately 1 km away from my home. I had to collect 500 litres of water every day which took me approximately 2 hours to procure. I often had body and leg aches due to it," she says.

Coming from a poor family, Kaddudi Devi had earlier initiated excavation for the RRWHS but could not afford to complete construction. With help from ACF and its partner, she was able to finish the construction of the tank and now is incredibly happy with the benefits.

ACF has conducted extensive work in water harvesting in Rajasthan and 8 other states by building check dams, renovating ponds and wells, and supporting families to install RRWHS. In this way they have been able to transform the water woes of 5 lakh people across rural India by installing 9922 RRWHS & providing 120 million litre storage capacity

To partner with ACF in bringing safe drinking water to many more rural households in India, reach out to
May 26, 2020

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