Success Story

Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting Helps 5 lakh People in Rural India Drink Fresh Water

Garsha Sai Nitesh
Garsha Sai Nitesh
Water

Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting System is a simple technology being harnessed by households and families in rural India to capture rainfall from household rooftops and store it for year-round household use.  It is the cheapest way of accessing potable water in remote areas and repair and maintenance are also low. 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 the spread of the virus. 

In 2014-15, Ambuja Cement Foundation joined hands with a leading Financial Institution to ensure drinking water for 200 poor and marginalized families of MarwarMundwa Block in Nagaur District and Jaitaran Block in Pali District of Rajasthan. 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.  

This 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. Apart from supporting families to install RRWHS, ACF has conducted extensive work in water harvesting in Rajasthan and 8 other states by building check dams and renovating traditional water structures. 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.

 The foundation is working extensively with communities to teach them how to monitor Water Quality and interventions to tackle poor water quality. Water quality testing plays a critical role in India in ensuring it meets its objectives to provide safe drinking water to every citizen. And today in the times of COVID-19, it plays an even greater role, as poor water quality is proven to be a major factor in reducing immunity levels in people. To tackle the problem.  

Water

Ambuja initiated a three-phased program in Gujarat to increase awareness of the problem and empower communities to solve it themselves. The first step was to conduct a widespread awareness campaign explaining the concept of Total Dissolvable Solids (TDS) levels, its permissible limit in water, and the effects of TDS imbalances. In the second phase, ACF started inviting villagers to common water sources to perform live demonstrations of testing bacteria in the water.  

Once the community started seeing the results, they were motivated to have more common drinking water sources tested and commence testing in their own homes. In the third phase, ACF wanted to empower people with the knowledge and skills to start taking action on water quality testing themselves.  

They conducted demonstrations in the communities about how to chlorinate the water so that it is drinkable – training Water Operators on how much chlorine powder is required for a quantity of water and how to mix it, providing chloro-scope meters to measure the residual chlorine in drinking water and training about how to maintain the right proportions.  

Today, the community is no longer dependent on ACF or the local authorities to check the quality of their water. Since initiating the program in 2017, ACF has managed to make 13 villages independent in testing their own water quality and hopes to reach many more villages. ACF takes a participatory approach across all its interventions, and over the past 27 years, it has seen long-term, sustainable success in many of its programs by taking this ‘people-centered’ approach. The approach has also borne results in Water Quality Testing with communities reporting a significant drop in the number of health-related issues.  

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