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Vol. 4   

No. 3

June  2002

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Roofwater tappers

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Ferrocement tanks collecting every drop of roofwater

Thati Senua, a village in Sujanpur block, Himachal Pradesh, is optimally harnessing rainwater in khatris and in ferrocement tanks to meet their daily requirements. In the process, they have set an example for others to follow. Says Anuradha Thakur, deputy commissioner of Hamirpur, "We are hoping that the success of rooftop rainwater harvesting at Thati Senu villagewould encourage other villages to take up such initiatives."

Reaping the benefits

About three years ago, Shargaon in Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmour district, was like any other village, characterised with high migration rates due to lack of irrigation water.

Things, however, took a drastic turn when Suresh Kumar got in touch with RUCHI (Rural Centre for Human Interests), a non-governmental organisation, promoting rainwater harvesting. The panchayat and the government also supported their initiatives.

Johads were made in the upper hill areas to increase the recharge. The irrigation tanks were constructed near the agricultural fields, in the lower areas to store water for irrigation purposes.These tanks receive rainwater through small channels.

The results are amazing.In the words of Ved Prakash, a jubilant villager,"By investing Rs three lakhs in doing these works, our village’s earning has also gone up to Rs 20 lakhs."

Buoyed by the success, the villagers are now investing in new irrigational technologies like drip irrigation, to strengthen their gains.

Till recently, the villagers have been primarily dependent on khatris, as the state’s piped water supply was released weekly and sometimes just once in a month. Moreover, with the increase in the number of families from two to 27, in last fifty years, the demand for water has been on the rise.The villagers tried to solve the problem by constructing some new khatris. The problem was abated to a certain extent. But more was needed.

The days of misery ended when a survey report suggested the diversion of roof water to the ferrocement tanks as an option to meet the demand. Following the suggestion, in 14 houses these tanks were constructed with government funds. "The villagers contributed ten per cent of the total cost in the form of shramdaan (voluntary labour).

While explaining the feasibility of this technology, Satish Sharma, project officer in district rural development authority, said "Most of the area around the village comprises of hard bouldary strata. As a result most of the rain flowed out without being utilised. Thus, it made complete sense to catch rainwater and use it for domestic purposes. The ferrocement tanks were opted for as these are relatively cheap and have maximum life in relative terms."

Adds RK Rana, junior engineer of Sujanpur block,"The capacity of a ferrocement tank (5,000 litres) was decided on the basis of the daily requirements of one family and the rainfall pattern of the region. This amount is sufficient for a family for about a month."Premchand, secretary of gram sabha, said "We have enough rain during the monsoon. Catching rain has solved our problems that used to emerge with the onset of summer."


New dawn

The declining water table and the decision of the Delhi Development Authority to come up with a new housing colony in the area has forced the residents of Vasant Kunj in New Delhi, to take action. They are now extremely keen to implement rainwater harvesting. In this endeavour, they are being supported by CSE and government of Delhi.

On June 23, representatives of all the resident welfare associations in Vasant Kunj met the representatives from CSE and Delhi government to get their concepts cleared. The government has announced Rs 25 lakh to encourage such initiatives in Vasant Kunj.


Every drop counts

Residents of the ten-storeyed Amidhara Apartments in Rajkot now have a new weapon to fight the city’s severe water shortage – water meters. Installed at a mere Rs 1,000 for each meter, the device is so effective that the apartments monthly demand for tankers has come down from 30 to five. The cost? Just Rs 200 a month, down from Rs 1,500 per flat earlier!


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