Cost-effective and Sustainable Technologies for Drinking Water Storage and Distribution in Rural Areas of Jharkhand, India

The overall objective of the project was to research and recommend sustainable, reliable solutions for rural drinking water supply system(s) which could be scaled up to increase coverage for rural areas of Jharkhand, while ensuring that quality of the drinking water is not adversely affected. Four related activities were pursued: 1. Large-scale rainwater harvesting 2. Use of abandoned mines for water storage 3. Use of solar pumps and Quench systems for water pumping and billing 4. Optimizing costs of piped water systems

As per a national study report on Existing Capacities in WATSAN Sector by the WASH Institute in 2009, Jharkhand falls under the category of “low improved water supply and low toilet coverage” (DLHS, 2007-2008). About 54% of rural households (a large portion of which are indigenous tribes) do not have access to a safe drinking water source, since hand pumps and piped water supplies are contaminated to various degrees by the time water reaches the consumer.

The Columbia Water Center’s work is based on the following problem statements put forth by the Drinking Water & Sanitation Department (DWSD) of the Government of Jharkhand:

  • Feasibility of cost-effective sustainable technology for rain water harvesting
  • Feasibility of cost-effective and sustainable means of harnessing water stored in abandoned mines
  • Feasibility of cost-effective technologies for providing rural populations with safe affordable and sustainable drinking water
  • Feasibility to provide cost-effective and sustainable solar-based drinking water supply

We are working with the Government to develop analytical tools which support the implementation of a drinking water strategy that can works within the framework of the government programs.