Ghar Ghar Aakash Ganga makes Rainwater Harvesting a Reality

WaterAid India

An Anganwadi worker in a remote village in Kanpur initiates a simple and innovate rainwater harvesting method in her village where conserving water is the desperate need of the hour.

The current groundwater scenario in India is ringing an alarm bell. With the water table depleting drastically, the resultant is that 60% of India’s districts are facing over-exploitation of groundwater as well as serious water quality issues. Based on a report submitted by the Committee on Restructuring the Central Water Commission (CWC) and the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), 2016, it is stated that while groundwater provides 80% of the country’s drinking water needs, it also caters to two-thirds of the irrigation requirements.

With regard to the desperate needs of the country, WaterAid India, along with partners Shramik Bharti and INREM Foundation launched a three-month campaign, Ghar Ghar Aakash Ganga in August this year on Independence Day, in six Gram Panchayats (GPs) across Lucknow and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Designed to engage with and motivate each household to invest in a roof top rainwater harvesting system, the campaign focuses on two primary aspects –

  • It is essential that each household collects approximately 500 litre of water from the rains for emergency supplies, such as firefighting, feeding livestock during water scarce days, cleaning and washing, and catering to other water needs.
  • The overflow from each storage tank should be channelized into the recharge pit at the household level.

For better outreach, posters on creating awareness about the issue, and a booklet on the same has been launched. Moreover, during Jal Chaupal sessions with the community, the Shramik Bharti team has also been providing technical advice.

The campaign came into being through the transboundary water dialogue during a Jal Chaupal session in Kakaupur Sitaram in Kanpur. The Gram Pradhan, Sant Kumar Sharma and Anganwadi worker, Shashi Sharma initiated the campaign after years of struggle for water scarcity. 

Transboundary water dialogue during a Jal Chaupal session in Kakaupur Sitaram, Kanpur (Photo credits/WaterAid India)
Transboundary water dialogue during a Jal Chaupal session in Kakaupur Sitaram, Kanpur (Photo credits/WaterAid India)

Interestingly, Shashi, an Anganwadi worker in Kakaupur Sitaram village was the first one to initiate the work on rainwater harvesting at her home. With the help of a huge polyethene cover, Shashi collected rainwater on her thatched roof and channelized it into a drum. The stored water was then used during monsoon months for household purposes. With such a simple yet innovative initiative, Shashi has been nominated as the brand ambassador of Ghar Ghar Aakash Ganga Abhiyan.

Shashi explaining her model of rain water harvesting in Jal Choupal sitting with people of the village (Photo credits/WaterAid India)
Shashi explaining her model of rain water harvesting in Jal Choupal sitting with people of the village (Photo credits/WaterAid India)

Through advanced training and workshops, the team has been working dedicatedly to conserve rainwater at each household using and improvising the simple method through plastic sheets on thatched rooftops. The posters and information booklet created talk about the process with which the villagers can install such a system at home, and how the water can be kept clean for use. Developed in the local language, Hindi, these communications material are meant to be used by the villagers to not only understand the process of water collection but also how to keep it clean and safe for use. This will help mainstream rainwater harvesting in the water security plans and thus result in each house having ample water for emergency situations.

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