Water Harvesting in Karheda
Mewat, a relatively poor district in the otherwise prosperous state of Haryana, India, faces an acute shortage of drinking water supply. Karheda village in Mewat has a ground water table 6 feet below the ground; but the water is highly saline and unsafe for human consumption. The government provides water to the village very erratically and inadequately. Sehgal Foundation looked into Karheda’s water situation and took steps to raise community awareness about the issue. They demonstrated various methods for collecting and conserving rainwater and the small amount of public water provided by the government.
When the Foundation began surveying the village’s water situation in 2005, it was clear that homes were typically not connected to the public water supply pipe. At various points along the pipe, water was illegally diverted. These illegal water diversions were badly designed so that when the water supply was on, water would flow onto the street and be wasted. This contributed to low water pressure, and a messy and unhygienic environment. Domestic wastewater was also typically disposed of on the streets.
The community was desperate to have a regular water supply. This made it fairly easy for Sehgal Foundation to introduce strategies for collecting and conserving water. Recharge wells and soak pits were introduced to help recharge water back into the ground. Soak pits are simple drainage structures that facilitate the disposal, filtration and percolation of wastewater into the ground. A “tap campaign” was also conducted in the village to raise community awareness about the need for taps. Taps were introduced in many new locations around the village, and water pipe leaks were sealed during the campaign. Villagers were encouraged to use water supply points and not to break the pipelines for individuals’ conveniences.
Sehgal Foundation had a lot of success with raising awareness about water problems in Karheda village. Villagers were very receptive to the interventions. Sehgal Foundation hopes that these interventions will help to solve water problems in other villages around Mewat.
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