Access to fresh water solutions
When the Barefoot College was established in Tilonia in 1972, water in Rajasthan was not only affected by geography but also by social customs. Given the desert environment, potable water was hard to find and retain. The availability and accessibility of drinking water were the primary concerns of the poor rural communities.
This held true particularly for communities that suffer from scarcity of water or are drought-prone, as well as those that lack hygienic sanitation and drinking water sources. Barefoot College has been providing sustainable community-based water sources, through time and experience, based on the following guiding principles: a) decentralization of water sources, b) replenishment of groundwater tables, c) participation of rural communities in implementation d) to reduce dependency on external aid and e) to reduce the drudgery of women and children, who are the worst effected by water problems like poor hygiene, availability and accessibility.
Barefoot College has implemented the following water solutions to address the variety of water challenges faced in the rural communities: rain water harvesting (RWH) tanks, dams, Solar Powered Reverse Osmosis (R/O) water desalination plants, and wells and ponds for ground water recharge.
In addition to physical water solutions, Barefoot College has also implemented Neer Jaal (www.neerjaal.org), a water mapping website that is controlled and managed by rural communities only. Neer Jaal is an Information Communication Technology enabled water resource management system for grassroots communities. It is about collation of ground water related content and information and management of water resources with the available information. The Neer Jaal software facilitates generating, storing and making public the water related information in a village. The core objective of Neer Jaal is to contribute towards managing scarce water resources across communities in India and is the also the first village-based, interactive website that keeps data and information on status of water tables and water sources in village. It has been designed to be map water sources, bodies, consumption, usage, harvesting, shortages and needs at a national level. The long term vision of Neer Jaal is to allow each and every villager in India to put their data related to water on a public domain and to gradually help the people of India to gather widespread information on water sources.
Rain Water Harvesting
Of all the water solutions that the College has tried and tested, it has found methods of rain water harvesting to be the most sustainable and effective.Read more
One major initiative taken up during the year has been the construction of Korsina Check Dam, a capacity of collecting 20 million litres of rain water.Read more
Solar Powered Reverse Osmosis (R/O) water desalination plants
In September 2006, Barefoot College set up India’s first ever solar powered Reverse Osmosis plant for desalination at a small voluntary organisation called Manthan established in Kotri, India.Read more
Neer Jaal is an Information Communication Technology enabled water resource management portal for grassroots communities which allows regular monitoring of water quality.Read more