In the Thar desert in north west India, girls like Jamuna and Seema lives are dominated by relentlessly fetching water. Whilst their brothers go to school, these girls walk eight miles every day carrying water pots weighing 12kg. There is a simple solution to this - rainwater harvesting tanks. These structures catch the monsoon rains and store them for use over the year. Clean drinking water at home leads to better health and enables girls to go to school. Can you help Jamuna and Seema?
In rural India, girls such as Jamuna and Seema often spend around a third of their lives fetching water. While their brothers go to school, they make 3 to 4 trips day to nearest available water source, carrying water pots on their heads. These pots weigh around 12kg giving these girls - as young as eight- excruciating back pain. The water they fetch can be contaminated. High fluoride level leads to weak bones and joint pains. Pathogens such as e-coli lead to diarrhoea and dehydration.
At WaterHarvest, we have been building rainwater harvesting structures for thirty years. These structures catch and store the monsoon rains, giving families 20,000 litres of drinking water at their home each year. The simple structures need little or no maintenance and last around 30 years. We work with the families to build the structures, to train them to clean and maintain them. Further, the funds from these programmes also include trainings on accessing current government programmes.
The long term impacts of clean water are numerous. The health of the whole family improves. Time becomes available for school in the case of girls and work in the case of women. As a result, the income of the family improves. Families with water enjoy a better social status that those without. Given many of the families we work with are very poor and vulnerable, the improvement in their social status leads to benefits that are hard to quantify but water is a trigger for a better life.