This article by Chicu summarises an AIR, Karnataka programme on rainwater harvesting.
"The miracle of rain : Let the earth overflow"
This is the assertion of an All India Radio Chitradurga series on rainwater harvesting. Sponsored by Arghyam, this series of 13 episodes has valuable information by Mr. Devaraj Reddy on the various aspects of rainwater harvesting. Several people who have implemented these systems also narrate their stories. These episodes are detailed in this article and can be downloaded below.
This episode begins with describing a farmer's longing for rain as he looks at his parched fields. At such a time, if it rains, it is truly miraculous. However, even an excess of water is harmful. For this purpose, Chitradurga Akashwani with Arghyam have produced a serial on using rainwater efficiently during the dry period and on conserving it during the monsoon.
The program begins with Mr. Manohar Rao of Arghyam describing the organization, its origins and goals. He also mentions the urban-rural divide and the impact of importing water from othe basins for urban water supply. The importance of water harvesting and sanitation measures at the household level are stressed upon.
Mr. Devaraj Reddy talks about rooftop rainwater harvesting. He begins with a definition of rainwater harvesting and by enumerating the various storage options available. He also states that rainwater is a free source of pure and uncontaminated water.This episode talks about the mechanism and methods of installation and maintenance of rainwater harvesting and storage system. Mr. Reddy stresses that it is not necessary to resort to commercial rainwater harvesting systems, and outlines several cost-effective systems that are possible to construct at home. The quantity of water that can be harvested, and purification methods are also explained.
This programme talks about rainwater harvesting and sanitation programmes initiated in several schools in Chitradurga and Davangere districts. These schools have now become a model and attract visitors from several districts. These projects aim to provide each child with one and a half litre litres of pure water a day.The episode interviews Shri M Kumar, headmaster of a government school in Tellikeri Taluka.
Mr.Reddy answers various queries from listeners regarding rainwater harvesting. One listener commented that the district of Chitradurga is facing an acute scarcity of water. However, even with a normal rainfall with an average of 500mm per year, water can be harvested. The experiences of a man who harvests rainfall in Sirigere, and the health benefits acquired from not drinking hard water are recounted. Several other queries were answered.
This episode recounts the experiences of three people who have installed rainwater harvesting. One of these is the Ramteertha Math, which had water shortages for 12 years. Earlier they were not convinced that collecting water during the monsoon will suffice their needs for the entire year. Three times, Devaraj Reddy visited them, it is only during the fourth visit that they agreed. Finances were obtained, and they installed a rainwater harvesting system. In the first rain itself, the tanks were filled. Since there was no rain for the next 1.5 months, they continued drinking that water and were pleasantly surprised that it remained fresh and sweet. Tests confirmed this, and they eight years down the line, they still use harvested rainwater.
Sulochana Bhaswaraj used to earlier harvest water with buckets etc. When they decided to build a house, their primary requirement was a rainwater harvesting system. People are surprised when they see the size of their tank, but they are happy with storing sufficient water, and are able to give some to their neighbours. Venkatesh and Saraswati then recount their experiences with rain-water harvesting. They were inspired by reading newspaper article to use their borewell to recharge the aquifer. This diluted the brackish water they would get earlier in the well and sweetened it.
The team visits a school in the village of Heballi, Taluka Hosadurga. Earlier, despite several pumps there was no drinking water in the villages. They successfully applied to Arghyam for funds to build a tank. Any earlier misgivings about the cleanliness of rainwater were dispelled when they learnt that that is pure water and drank it. Now they compare it to teertha from a temple. People from as far as Tamil Nadu now visit their school. The school also has a student's parliament that pays close attention to wastage of water, maintenance of the system, and to cleanliness.
Devaraj Reddy speaks about the process of water infiltration and recharge, including a brief description of hydro-geology of Chitradurga, which is conducive to underground storage of water. Despite this over-exploitation of groundwater has led to declining ground water levels. They are also facing groundwater contamination due to increased concentration fluoride, arsenic and nitrates. In such cases, artificial recharge is recommended.
Two people are interviewed - a bank manager in charge of loans for wells and tanks, and a builder of tanks. The Chitradurga Grameen Bank loans Rs.10,000 to farmers for development works. After receiving advice from Devaraj Reddy, several farmers now have recharged their wells and paid back their loans. The manager has recharged his well 10 years ago. This not only supplies him with water throughout the year, but also replenishes the aquifer.Another interviewee testified that borewell recharge has not only increased the levels of his groundwater but also decreased fluoride levels and TDS.
This episode describes a visit to a school of 39 students in the village of Mudule Maji, where there are few privileges. There, Mr. Om Naik describes the remote nature of the village, where only 5-6 households have water. Mr.Tippeswami, the headmaster explains the rainwater harvesting system (9000 litre capacity) in the school following Mr. Reddy's visit. Mr. Reddy then explains the rainwater harvesting system of this and another school. The health benefits of drinking rain water instead of fluoride affected water are also testified to by the villagers.
This special phone-in episode begins with Mr. Reddy speaking of a program in Andhra Pradesh, Indira Jal Prabha that works in over 10,000 ha of land. He then answers queries from various people.
This episode talks of a visit to a school in the fluoride-affected Gaur Gundanahalli, Jaglur Taluka. The children of this school had begun exhibiting the signs of fluorosis when Arghyam intervened with a rainwater harvesting system.
This discusses the ASHWAS survey carried out in three districts. It begins with an explanation of the water quality data collection and the methodology of the survey. The household surveys also looked at people's health, and the state of sanitation. Mr. Gangadhar speaks about the project, the survey and his experiences during the survey.
This episode takes us to Jadegundanahalli in Hirur taluka. Arghyam had provided funds to create a model school. When the team arrived in Jadegundanahalli, they tested the water and experienced a fright as the water used by the students was not potable. He then goes on to explain the rainwater harvesting system adopted in the school.
Download the episodes (as mp3 files) below: