Thati Senu village, Sujanpur block, Himachal Pradesh

Thati Senu, a village in Sujanpur block, Himachal Pradesh, is optimally harnessing rainwater in khatris (a traditional water harvesting system) and in ferrocement tanks to meet their daily requirements. In the process, they have set an example for others to follow. Says Anuradha Thakur, deputy commissioner of Hamirpur, "We are hoping that the success of rooftop rainwater harvesting at Thati Senu village would encourage other villages to take up such initiatives."

Till recently, the villagers have been primarily dependent on khatris, as the state's piped water supply was released weekly and sometimes just once in a month. Moreover, with the increase in the number of families from two to 27, in last fifty years, the demand for water has been on the rise. The villagers tried to solve the problem by constructing some new khatris. The problem was abated to a certain extent. But more was needed.

The days of misery ended when a survey report suggested the diversion of roof water to the ferrocement tanks as an option to meet the demand. Following the suggestion, in 14 houses these tanks were constructed with government funds. "The villagers contributed ten per cent of the total cost in the form of shramdaan (voluntary labour).

While explaining the feasibility of this technology, Satish Sharma, project officer in district rural development authority, said "Most of the area around the village comprises of hard bouldary strata. As a result most of the rain flowed out without being utilised. Thus, it made complete sense to catch rainwater and use it for domestic purposes. The Ferro cement tanks were opted for as these are relatively cheap and have maximum life in relative terms."

Adds RK Rana, junior engineer of Sujanpur block, "The capacity of a Ferro cement tank (5,000 liters) was decided on the basis of the daily requirements of one family and the rainfall pattern of the region. This amount is sufficient for a family for about a month."Premchand, secretary of gram sabha, said "We have enough rain during the monsoon. Catching rain has solved our problems that used to emerge with the onset of summer."

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