Villagers adopt rainwater harvesting to access safe water
PATNA: As many as 5,000 rural households in Bihar’s Khagaria district have adopted rainwater harvesting as an approach to access safe water during the on-going monsoon. These communities are mostly from the flood prone areas (largely relief oriented) and have invested their own resources to access safe water.
Villagers residing in remote villages located in Chautham, Gogari Alauli blocks of Khagaria district have adopted rainwater harvesting, said Prem K Verma who is engaged in the campaign of rainwater harvesting in the district.
Pre-2005, this decentralized system to access safe water during monsoon/floods never existed in flood plains of north Bihar. This is an outcome of past six years of efforts made by an NGO “Megh Pyne Abhiyan” (MPA) (Cloud Water Campaign) in partnership with Samta, local voluntary organization in Khagaria to develop and promote alternative drinking water and sanitation systems for the entire year in the floods plains of north Bihar.
Similar efforts are being made in Supaul, Saharsa, Madhubani and West Champaran district in collaboration with ‘Gramysheel’, ‘Kosi Seva Sadan’, ‘Ghoghardiha Prakhand Swarjya Vikas Sangh’ and ‘Water Action’ respectively. The initiative has been entirely supported by Arghyam, a Bangalore based charitable Foundation.
The age old grain storage structure, popularly known as ‘kothi’ has been further innovated and developed as a rainwater storage facility, which is now being termed as ‘Jal Kothi’. Prior to establishing a local solution for rainwater storage (MPA had introduced the concept of temporary rainwater harvesting during floods which was established by people through adopting the mechanism during the floods of 2007 and 2008 as a safe drinking water source), the approach of temporary rainwater harvesting despite its potential was not being exploited to its fullest possible potential.
Keeping in view the socio-economic variations in rural Bihar, jal kothis of various designs with varying storage capacity and raw materials have been developed locally with the help of skilled craftpersons and masons.
Each of the five flood prone districts has developed local variations of jal kothis that are contextual to the requirements of the people.
The jal kothis cum rainwater harvesting efforts of the campaign resulted in large scale acceptance of rainwater as a safe drinking water source, said Eklavya Prasad of MPA.