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Importance Of Rainwater Harvesting In Today’s Age

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Traditional rainwater harvesting, Rajasthan. Image source Wikimedia Commons

Fresh, clean water is a limited resource. While most of the planet is covered with water, it is salt water that can only be consumed by humans and other species after undergoing desalination, which is an expensive process. Occurrences such as droughts further limit access to clean and fresh water, meaning people need to take steps to reduce water use and save as much water as possible. In some areas of the world, access to water is limited due to contamination. People who have access quantity of fresh water can take steps to limit their use of water to avoid wastage of water.

Why And How Of Water Conservation?

People should do their best to conserve water for three reasons.

1. The less water used or wasted by people, the less is the chance for clean water to become contaminated. In some cases, using excess amounts of water puts a strain on septic and sewage systems, leading to contamination of groundwater, as untreated, dirty water seeps from the sewage system into the ground.

2. Water conservation reduces energy use and even save households money. Most families pay to use water in their cities or regions. Appliances that use water, such as washing machines and dishwashers, also use a considerable amount of energy.

3. Conserving water now allows cities and regions to plan for more efficient use of the water resources in the future. If most of an area’s clean water is wasted, there will no water left for future generations to use, meaning the city will need to come up with new ways to produce clean, fresh water, which will ultimately have an effect on taxpayers’ expense. The purpose of rainwater harvesting is to meet water requirements throughout the year without the need for huge capital expenditure.

What Is Water Harvesting?

Water harvesting means capturing rainwater, where it falls and capture the runoff from catchment, streams etc. Generally, water harvesting is direct rainwater collection. This collected water could be stored for later use and recharged into the groundwater again. Rain is primary water source lakes; groundwater and rivers are the secondary water source.

Nowadays we totally depend on secondary water sources, we just forget that rains are the source which feed all other secondary sources of water. So, rainwater harvesting means we recognize the rain’s value and try to use rainwater.

How Can You Harvest Rainwater?

By capturing runoff rainwater from the rooftop, you can harvest rainwater at your home.

Did you know that about 60,000 gallons of water runoff from your roofs and goes into the street, streams and then in seawater? This water is being cleaned, filtered and provided to you on payment. Why don’t you eliminate this process? You can just install a water harvesting system in your home and use this runoff rainwater.

Water Conservation Technique

How to Harvest Rainwater?

Rainwater could be easily collected in plastic tanks. They are easy to install and handle. They are comparatively cheaper than underground tanks, but definitely take up space. For harvesting rainwater you first calculate the possible rain, you can do this by getting information from the Meteorological Bureau of your area. They would give you information about the average rainfall over the whole month.

For instance, if you have 600mm rains every year and the area of your roof is 200 square meters, and you are interested to catch the whole area for one-month storage. Your tank volume must be 10,000 liters. This quantity of water will give 10,000/30 about 33 liters water per day.

Be Careful about the following things:

  • Your water should not seep on the public roadway, or on the property of your neighbor.
  • Water gets wasted by evaporation, so proper arrangement should be done.
  • Regular maintenance is a must.
  • Never let the gutters block, leaf-guard is best, but it is expensive.
  • In-line-leaf is good, but they need proper and regular cleaning.
  • Your tank must be mosquito free.
  • If you want to drink rainwater, then, keep in mind that your roof should not be zinc-alum, because aluminum is dangerous for you.
  • It must be pollution free.

The harvested water can also be used as drinking water, longer-term storage, and for other purposes such as groundwater recharge and irrigation purpose.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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