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Co-Host Researcher (Activity Co-Lead): Dr Deepti Sharma
Co-Host Researcher Institution: Water Wisdom Foundation
The imbalance between extraction and recharge, is causing water table levels to drop in rural irrigation areas. This is exacerbated by climate change and population growth, which are reducing the water resources availability and depleting aquifers, as well as creating problems of high concentration of fluoride and heavy metals with negative impacts in human health.
Charasada Village is located near Sambhar Salt Lake, which is the largest inland lake in India and a designated Ramsar site. The Sambhar Salt Lake region in Rajasthan is affected by frequent droughts. Traditional management techniques have been restored in semi-arid regions of north of Rajasthan with positive outcomes for natural ecosystems and economic regeneration. Two types of Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) structures are being trialled for drinking water collection during the monsoons. One method is through ponds - small dams, farm ponds, percolation ponds- which contribute to underground water recharge. These structures suppress salinity and fresh water is fetched through open wells. The second method includes ground water storage of harvested roof -top rainwater. In Charasada, WaterHarvest has already installed roof-top RWH Systems in 120 family houses, however, the quality of this water has not been analysed previously. The aim of this research was to:
- Analyse the quality of water stored in ponds and other infrastructure created by rural communities, quality of groundwater which has been also been partially recharged through these structures, and quality of water collected in the houses' tanks;
- Evaluate how much rain water harvesting is contributing to mitigation of drought impacts by increasing fresh water availability; and
- Define water management guidelines for different uses (domestic use, irrigation) depending upon water quantity and quality. These guidelines may be linked to hydro-climate services information.
To read more about Paula Arce Vicente’s experiences in Rajasthan with Water Wisdom Foundation and at IIT Gandhinagar and IISER Bhopal, see here.