Harvesting in School
Ajay Desai is programme coordinator at the Vikas Sahyog
Pratisthan (VSP), a collective of voluntary organisations in Maharashtra and working for
social justice and environmental sustainability. In a venture to find the water harvesting
structures suitable to laterite rock of Konkan region, he has gone a long way to provide a
helping hand to small efforts.
Desai has suggested that low-cost rainwater harvesting is pertinent to
laterite rock region of Konkan. When he discussed this with R N Athavale, of the National
Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad, during the CSE conference, he was told
that catching water where it falls should be the main strategy in the region.
However, techniques may vary locally. He referred to such a project in Rekoba High School
In November 1998, Ajay met the principal of the school and the teacher in charge of the
project. The project was carried out by a Pune-based NGO and NGRI on an experimental basis
for a research project. The project consisted of three tanks (8 metres x 2 metres x 4
metres). One tank is unlined, the second is lined with cement, and the third is lined with
water-proof concrete. These tanks were compared with an aquaculture tank for observation.
The tanks were expected to irrigate 100 mango grafts. The project was abandoned once the
institutions got sufficient data for the research. However, no clear solution emerged for
the school and for the people living near-by. The teachers informed Desai that all the
tanks had seepage problems. The observation tank was also damaged. Though Desai views that
such seepage should not be considered a problem, effort should be combined with other
water conservation measures to reduce dependence on external irrigation.
Though the project was discontinued, the school authorities would like to continue with
the work and develop it as a model for neighbouring farmers. But they do not have adequate
If any one is interested to fund the project, please contact: The Principal,
Rekoba High School, Wairi, Malvan Tehsil, Sindhudurg District, Maharashtra: 415 612.
Please send your comments to: Mr. Ajay Desai, 2787, Shivaji High School Road,
Zadgaon, Rathnagiri, Maharashtra: 415 612.
Harvesting Water in
K L Vyas, convenor of Save Lakes of Hyderabad, a voluntary
organisation, is planning to plant trees and harvest rainwater in the buildings and
stations of South Central Railway. Public establishments occupy vast areas in the country.
If land is optimally used and water tapped and recycled, the demands of most residents can
be met. Keeping this in mind, Vyas had a detailed talk with concerned officials and has
also prepared an action plan. He is keen to undertake such projects in areas around public
establishments. In response to Vyass request, CSE has written to the ministry of
defence and ministry of railways to promote such projects.