August 2015

Harvest yields a precious commodity

Bhimaraya’s family used to spend three hours every day to fetch water for their needs, prompting him to learn rain water harvesting techniques from the Kalike team

Situated 15 km away from Yadgir, Kanchagarahalli village is mostly populated by an economically poor agrarian people. The ground water table is situated deep below the rocky landscape and sandy soil. To get to that water, the villagers would have to dig about 250-300 ft below ground level. The cost would average around Rs. 60-70,000, which is beyond their means. This means that year round, and especially in summer, Kanchagarahalli is susceptible to severe water scarcity.

Irregular water supply is not the area’s only problem. What water is available, is contaminated by fluoride, nitrate and hydrogen sulphide (H2S). This was particularly so in the village school, where children regularly consumed contaminated water. When Kalike, under the aegis of the Trusts, studied the school infrastructure and the requirements to improve the educational facilities under their Arogya Chethana initiative, this was one of the first issues that it tackled. The school’s water was tested by ARGHYAM, a Bangalore-based company, and Kalike shared the results with the community. They also provided awareness of safe drinking water to the villagers.

The School Development and Monitoring Committee (SDMC) became Kalike’s partners in the area; when Kalike volunteers motivated the community to harvest rain water, the SDMC stepped up to help the organisation construct a Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) model at the school.

In this endeavour, Kalike was helped by the active involvement of Mr. Bhimaraya, the ex-president of SDMC, who not only took an interest in the construction of the RWH tank at the school, but also took steps to learn RWH techniques to meet his household’s water needs. He and his family used to spend three hours every day to fetch enough water from 2km away to meet their drinking, cooking and other household needs. He was motivated to approach the Kalike team to understand how to procure materials, the costs involved in setting up RWH tanks to meet household needs, the required capacity of the tanks, etc. Eventually, he installed a 6,000ltr RWH tank at his home. “After adapting the RWH model to the household level, we are able to collect a good amount of uncontaminated water,” says a relieved Bhimaraya. “Now, I can spend that time in agriculture and other jobs.” Bhimaraya is very grateful to Kalike for providing the information and technical support in setting up Rain Water Harvesting tanks in the village. He is now encouraging other villagers to adopt the RWH model to meet their needs.