We believe that every community has the right to clean water.
Rather than relying on hand pumps, wells, and unpredictable groundwater levels, we harness every drop of fresh water that falls from the sky. By combining traditional harvesting practices with new technologies, we make water accessible, clean and safe to drink for millions of people in need.Our Impact
Targeting Sustainability Goals
We believe that every drop of fresh water that falls on the ground, especially in developing regions, should be harnessed for use. Rather than wasting water that runs off rooftops and along streets, we combine traditional harvesting practices with new technologies to make water accessible, clean and safe to drink.
The Barefoot College provides drinking water to rural schools and village centres using a technique that has been used for hundreds of years in India’s deserts: rainwater harvesting. By collecting rainwater from rooftops and storing it in simple, low-cost underground tanks, we help collect water in 15 states for 32 million people.
We have supported the construction of three dams that bring drinking water to more than 100 communities. These dams are not repurposed for energy. They support the water needs of the people and livestock living in some of the most arid regions of the world. Each dam slows the speed of water, which reduces erosion and allows minerals and contaminants to settle to the bottom, providing potable water to entire communities.
This project will increase opportunities for clean water, sustainable agriculture, and public health and hygiene. Community members will also gain a lasting commitment to—and responsibility for—the structures that bring them fresh water.
Nearly 100 villages surround Sambhar lake, a large saltwater lake located in the Ajmer district of Rajasthan. Local villagers earn a living by manufacturing salt as it evaporates from the water, but the local water supply is too brackish to consume or use for cooking. Barefoot’s solar powered desalination plant filters water from Sambhar Lake and stores it in a 5,000 litre tank. Constructed from a booster pump, sand filter, carbon filter, and other readily available materials, the desalination plant prevents waste and impurities from mixing with the purified water, providing drinkable water to thousands of individuals.
Neer Jaal (www.neerjaal.org) is a water mapping website controlled and managed by rural communities. By collating information related to groundwater, Barefoot’s Neer Jaal software generates, stores and distributes information related to a village’s water supply, which helps manage scarce water resources. We offer three annual trainings and mobile water test kits to interested community members, who then disseminate this knowledge throughout their villages. Neer Jaal is the first village-based, interactive website that catalogues water tables and water sources in villages. It is designed to scale nationally and gather vital water consumption data.
A Story of Impact
Rural schools harvest rainwater
In 2003, the Ministry of Water Resources sanctioned a pilot project to harvest rainwater in 100 rural schools across 13 states in India. The project uses the Barefoot rainwater harvesting technology to provide adequate water for drinking and sanitation.