A people of Rajasthan village in India now no longer depends on a government water supply. They fulfill our demand through water harvesting and has become a role model for other villages.
There is 140 houses in Jhunjhunu’s Ismailpur village have built a 13-foot-deep underground tank which can store 20,000 litres of rainwater. The tank is charged with rooftop water during the monsoon through pipes. Every member of a family of six (average size) uses his share of eight litres per day with a self-discipline which helps the family keep the stock going till the next monsoon.
This system has inspired 25 other villages around Ismailpur.
A report of an expert committee on the Integrated Development of Water Resources in Rajasthan said in 2013, over 24 cities and towns received government water only once every four days. According to the report, more than 75% of Indian villages with multiple water quality problems fall in Rajasthan. In Jhunjhunu, the groundwater has high fluoride and elevated total dissolved solids (TDS) levels, which is measured in milligrams per unit volume of water. Groundwater in Jhunjhunu has TDS as high as 4,000 mg/L when the World Health Organisation (WHO) has prescribed an acceptable limit of 500 mg/L in potable water. Presence of high TDS in water decreases palatability and might cause gastrointestinal irritation.
Therefore, villages didn’t have an alternative to harvesting rainwater for drinking and cooking. With help from an NGO – Ramkrishna Jaidayal Dalmia Sewa Sansthan – villagers constructed tanks of 10-foot diameter outside their houses, a pond outside the village for overflow from these tanks and an 80-foot recharge well for run-off water, which was earlier creating puddles on village pathways, in 2005. The water collected in the pond is used for horticulture and agriculture.
People also recharge the groundwater with soak pits in their houses. They have dug up a 19-foot hole in their house and put 15 cement rings of three-foot diameter for used water of the house, from the kitchen and the bathroom, to flow into the ground.
The NGO has installed piezometers, a device for measuring groundwater level, at 12 locations to keep a tab on depletion in Chidawa, which is one of the six blocks in the district where bore wells are not allowed because of very low groundwater level.
Bhupendra Paliwal, project manager of the NGO, said 20 villages in Chidawa, had replicated the Ismailpur experiment to become water self-reliant. “Around 54 villages, including these 19, are on the way to becoming self-dependent. In most villages, 85% of the houses have tanks for rainwater harvesting.”
Sujit Singh of Ismailpur said their model had been followed in many other villages. “We don’t depend on the government supply now.”