A nala is a seasonal river that flows as a result of the monsoon rains. Much of the water that falls in this region finds its way to these nalas and flows out of the region as they connect to increasingly larger rivers on its way to the ocean. The monsoon season in Udaipur District lasts from the end of June until September. Most of the rain that falls in this area falls during this period. The rest of the year is, most often, rain free.
Furthermore, over the long term the rains cycle from heavy monsoons that create floods to failed monsoons that produce drought conditions. The harshest times are when the long term and short term dry spells coincide. The summer after a year or two of failed monsoons is dry and parched. And yet, a few years prior the local nala was a place to swim. Water Harvesting is an attempt to even out the availability of water over both the long and short term.
Rakhi Seva works with families to build household water harvesting systems. Underground tanks provide storage for a minimum of 10,000 litres of water and locally fabricated and installed eavestroughs provide rooftop catchment of monsoon rains. Water harvesting reduces the demand on clean groundwater resources and provides a source of water after the rains have gone. This water’s primary uses are for bathing, laundry and watering animals.
Rakhi Seva provides materials and training for the building of these systems. Family members provide all the labour to install tanks and to fabricate and install the eavestrough and piping. For ease of access to the water, small handpumps are installed on these tanks. The use of handpumps also helps to keep the water clean. The surface of each tank is sealed to prevent anything other than rooftop water from entering.
An access hatch is also provided to allow for maintenance and cleaning of the tank. Soon after the first system was installed, kids began to introduce fish to the water in the tank. At first this was just for fun. But, the fish survived and reproduced. These little ecosystems have remained healthy over the years. The fish keep the water clean and free of mosquito larva. This ensures that this program that we introduced doesn’t introduce an additional hazard. We thank the children for their ingenuity.