Project #2719

Providing Clean Water for Villagers in Kerala

by Rainwater for Humanity
Aug 6, 2009

First day in Kerala

General Body meeting
General Body meeting

Yesterday morning, we drove Achinakom village, the project site, with Mr. Sylas, Dr. Thomas (former director of MGU School of Environmental Science), Prof. John, and Dr. Ramasamy (current School director). We sat in on a general body meeting (all in Malayalam; we were pretty lost but had some translation) with the future system users, local committee members, and us from the university. Although construction deadlines are approaching, the atmosphere was pretty relaxed, with plenty of joking and smiling. This was followed by a local committee meeting with the two Panchayath (local government body) members from Achinakom, four village representatives, and Suma (the women's self-help group secretary). They set out a construction schedule for the system over the next three weeks, with material delivery later this week and building beginning on the ninth. It is expected to take twelve days to finish construction and allow all concrete to cure. They also agreed to open a bank account for project expenses in the name of “Rainwater for Humanity – Achinakom.” Suma and a Panchayath member will be signatories. We all walked over to the system site. Taking advantage of local conditions, it is situated in an abandoned canal, approximately 2m deep, 5m wide, and 20m long. They have divided it in half to use one side for the storage tank and the other for drainage. Local engineers have advised that a silpaulin membrane tank will be unable to withstand existing hydrostatic pressure from the (very high) water table, so a rigid tank lining is required. They plan to mortar the sides of the canal (simultaneously pumping out groundwater) and then build a reinforced concrete shell. As per our proposal, there will be an elevated wall around the outside of the system (sloped 5°) and corrugated sheet metal roof (most likely galvanized iron). When completed, the system will store about 120,000 liters of water (entirely contained within the subsurface canal). This will provide 16 neighboring families (approximately 72 people) with water over the course of the year. The primary desire is to have 20 liters a day available per family during the dry season (from December to April, about 38,400 liters). The current estimated cost is Rs. 135,000 (about US$2,700), and local masons estimate a lifetime of 50 years. Compared to Rs. 0.2 per liter of drinking water from private vendors (a common source during dry months, when well water is unusable), this is a factor of ten savings over the system lifetime. Before building begins, we plan on gathering first-person background information on the social and technical impact of the system. We will interview villagers, visit the local health clinic, and test water samples from current sources to learn about current water use practices and issues. This baseline information will be crucial to measure Rainwater for Humanity's impact on concrete health metrics. We also plan to meet with consulting engineers at MGU and the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) and local masons in order to understand how local construction techniques have adapted to deal with difficult building conditions.

System site inspection
System site inspection

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Rainwater for Humanity

Location: Providence, RI - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Rainwater for Humanity
Project Leader:
Christina Tang
Initiator and On-Ground Consultant
Providence, RI United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Find another project in India or in Health that needs your help.
Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.