Water & Sanitation

Since our inception, we have developed some of the most vulnerable areas of the country through the development of water resources. The introduction and application of the yield test technology in 1969, a scientific method of groundwater investigation, placed us amongst a privileged group pioneering the scientific development of groundwater in the country. We led scientific assessments (hydro-geological prospecting) including the estimation of groundwater potentials in some of the most challenging geological conditions – hard rocks of peninsular India. With state of the art equipment, we developed irrigation and drinking water wells. Furthering the development of basic water supply infrastructure, we developed the Vadala hand pump, a model subsequently modified (India Mark II Hand Pump) and widely promoted by UNICEF with a targeted impact of more than 6,00,000 people.

While we continue to develop surface and groundwater; and governance in water (community irrigation) documented as early as the late 1960’s; we expanded our focus, actively encouraging resource security or sustainability only since the 1980’s. Here we focused on recharging aquifers through development of soil and water conservation measures, marking our modest beginnings with issues of equity and justice in water. Governance or community engagement, participation and ownership are complex, continuing and evolving processes, one which we are also working constantly towards improving. Further, widening our focus is the inclusion of safe sanitation and hygiene practices (WASH) and adaptation to climate change.

Supporting us while we contributed to the evolution of holistic approach of water security were agencies like Christian Aid, Lutheran World Relief (LWR), Centre for World Solidarity (CWS), Misereor, Oxfam, Caritas Internationalis, Swiss Development Corporation (SDC) etc. More recently we are supported by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Rural Development, UNICEF, Water Aid, BALCO, BILT, Lafarge Pvt Ltd, Monsanto, Rio Tinto, and Coca Cola India Foundation etc.


Water & Sanitation

Securing Water for Food

Abundant or scarce, water drives livelihoods of millions of communities. Access to water and water stresses at critical periods of crop growth impact production; and corresponding incomes earned. Augmenting access to water resources, including optimum utilization practices, opens a window of opportunity to alleviate lives of vulnerable communities.

Our illustrious work on groundwater development has roots in hydro-geological surveys and aquifer performance tests, with citing and installation of bore wells, tube wells, and hand pumps part of our support. For over four decades irrigation potentials have been created and supplemented by irrigation infrastructure (surface and groundwater) including water conservation measures. Such measures support farmers with water security required for augmenting agricultural production.

Strengthening of indigenous technologies has also formed an integral part of our support with Channel based Diversion systems (Gravity flow based) representing one such example.

Efficiency in irrigation systems, increasingly being encouraged under the water security approach, is addressed through structural interventions – minor irrigation systems (drip and sprinkler irrigation); farm level interventions – alternate row irrigation etc; and vegetative interventions. Also, efforts are being made to address issues of energy efficiency in irrigation – amalgamating the traditional with the modern.


Securing Drinking Water

Access to adequate and ‘Safe’ drinking water has been accorded highest priority in India’s National Water Policy. However, millions continue to be deprived of basic drinking water security due to issues of inadequate access, water quality failing to meet nationally accepted standards and the poor adoption of integrated approaches to address these issues.

We have been actively addressing the issue of access to drinking water through creation of basic drinking water infrastructure (dug wells and bore wells etc); and piped water supply systems. Innovative design solutions are being extended to communities residing in remote, topographically and geologically complex geographies.

We have brought access to potable water closer to several communities through the design of a unique Water Filter. It combines the functionality of existing Horizontal Roughing Filter (HRF) and Slow Sand Filter (SSF) technology. ‘Water Safety around drinking water sources is also being introduced through protection of drinking water systems and waste water disposal systems.

Our Rainwater harvesting structures address issues of declining water security, especially in water stressed geographies; contributing to both surface storages, as well as recharge (source protection).


Water & Governance

The declining per capita availability of water is increasingly stressing on sustainable approaches to water utilization. Also, constraints in further investing on creation of water related infrastructures are assigning significant weight to operation and maintenance (O&M) of existing ones. Here systems of governance hold integral solutions to improvements in operational efficiency and sustainability.

We recommend the involvement of farmers and village institutions in the management of water (‘Participatory Groundwater Management’ & ‘Participatory Irrigation Management’) resources. Here need based capacity building are part of the support extended. Institutions trained to operate and maintain drinking water supply systems including piped water supply are Village Water and Sanitation Committees (VWSC) and Water User Groups (WUG) etc. Our ‘Hand Pump’ technicians too contribute to O&M including repair of existing drinking water structures and training of para-professionals from the local communities.

Repair, renovation and restoration of existing infrastructure including water bodies too are part of the support extended by us.

Striving Towards a Swatch Bharat

Striving towards a ‘Swatch Bharat’

While, a lag in achievement of Millennium Development Goals with regard to water and sanitation is well established, scope for improvement is immense. Our approaches are keeping pace with changing issues.

We are addressing the most basic issue of access to sanitation through design and development of sanitation models. Keeping pace with leading innovations in the sanitation sector, we are also collaborating to demonstrate several such models amongst our communities including demonstrations on solid and liquid waste management (Bio Digesters & Bio Gas). Due care is taken in technology selection, so as to ensure that the toilets are not an environmental hazard – especially in flood prone and low lying coastal areas. In water stressed areas, efforts are being made to improve sustainability of structures created through improved access to assured water resources (including rainwater harvesting in schools).

As an established strategy, behavior change is being addressed by us through awareness generation and capacity building of local communities, PRI representatives on improved WASH practices including Menstruation Hygiene Management (MHM) etc.


Water & Sanitation Programmes

Water and Sanitation Slider

Empowering Communities by creating access to safe drinking water and sanitation

An estimated 37.7 million Indians are affected by waterborne diseases annually and 1.5 million children die of diarrhea, creating an immense need to provide access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Further, since drinking water infrastructure is poorly maintained, the availability of adequate drinking water is another challenge. With 79% … Continue reading

Hydrogeological Investigation of the Nyoil river basin

Groundwater development has rapidly expanded in the six decades since independence meeting the drinking and irrigation requirements, especially of the rural population. However, the hydro-geological conditions which favor the development of groundwater are complex and understanding the intricacies involved can assist in scientific and sustainable development of groundwater. Supporting the … Continue reading

Working towards making Gram Panchayats Drinking Water Secure

Working towards making Gram Panchayats Drinking Water Secure

Population projections (2050) reflect an Indian population well over the 1.5 billion mark. With utilizable water resources in India – surface or groundwater – more or less constant, there is growing concern that several regions in India will progress towards being ‘Water Stressed’ and eventually ‘Water Scarce’. This concern increases … Continue reading

Advocating the cause of Participatory Monitoring of Groundwater

Advocating the cause of Participatory Monitoring of Groundwater

Groundwater is the single most important resource in the country. Meeting the demand of water for drinking and irrigation, its sustainability is increasingly being affected by unrestrained use of the resource. With groundwater levels, declining across the country, the National Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme (NAMMP) has been specially designed … Continue reading

Creating water assets for tribal families

Creating water assets for tribal families

The National Water Policy, and Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified by the Government of India) accord high priority to access to safe drinking water. We have supported an initiative of a non state actor to improve access to safe drinking water in a … Continue reading

Enabling Decentralized Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Jalswarajya and Aaple Pani

Enabling Decentralized Rural Water Supply and Sanitation: Jalswarajya and Aaple Pani

Maharashtra is the first state in the country to launch a major initiative of a state-wide policy for reforming Water Supply and Sanitation Sector in the state. ‘Jalswarajya Project on Rural Water Supply and Sanitation and Aple Pani’ were two programmes which envisaged deepening of decentralization processes up to the … Continue reading

Integrated approach for delineating potential zones to explore for groundwater in the Seethanagaram Mandal of Vizianagaram District, Andhra Pradesh, India

Hydrogeomorphological, hydrogeological and geophysical investigations were carried out in the Seethanagaram Mandal of Vizianagaram district, Andhra Pradesh to delineate the potential zones for groundwater exploration. The study area is underline by Archean group of rocks. The satellite images were examined based on visual interpretation and the study area was divided … Continue reading

Studying Socio-Economic Condition of Inhabitants of the Wakal River Basin

Wakal river basin in Rajasthan has been selected by GLOWS as one of the three river basins i.e. Pastazain Peru, Wakal in India, and Mara in Kenya/Tanzania from three critical regions (South America, Asia and Africa) for the study of water resources and for identifying site-based activities that seek to … Continue reading

Study on Restoration of Dying Lakes

Study on Restoration of Dying Lakes

Surface water in India is broadly grouped in what is known as wetlands. Lakes although a small component of wetlands in the country, occupy approximately 7.25 lakh ha. However, unplanned development in the catchments of these lakes can be singled out as the most important factor contributing to the decline … Continue reading

Concurrent Evaluation of Nirmal Gram Puruskar (NGP)

Nirmal Gram Puruskar’s (NGP) have for long been associated with recognition of substantial strides made in sanitation and hygiene practices. They have served as drivers, motivating local communities including schools, etc to construct and use sanitation facilities; and adopt both individual and community level hygienic practices. Supporting the Ministry of … Continue reading