Sikar, ‘The Door to the Thar Desert’, lies in the northeastern region of the state of Rajasthan. As much as 76.3%of the population lives in a rural area. The district experiences extremes in climate, with a very dry summer and intensively cold winters. The average maximum and minimum temperatures are recorded as 48°C and 0°C, respectively. An average rainfall of 466 mm makes it one of the most water-scarce districts of Rajasthan. Agriculture is the mainstay of the people in this area. Dairy farming is also common among the more progressive farmers.
Unregulated use of natural resources affected the livelihood of the agrarian community in Sikar district. Bajaj Foundation has identified priority issues that include deteriorating groundwater, desertification, climate change, excessive use of chemicals in farming, traditional & high water-intensive cropping patterns, low awareness about water quality & usage and less awareness on small agro-based livelihoods. Bajaj Foundation, in close consultation with the local community, identified ecologically sustainable, economically remunerative, socially and culturally managed integrated community development interventions.
Richhpal is a resident of village Sihot Chotti where water crisis is one of the acute problems identified in the village. Most of the borewells in the area are defunct and the average groundwater table has gone down to 270 feet. Our team advised Richhpal and his neighbours to recharge the borewell and construct a roof rainwater harvesting system (RRWHS) for drinking purposes. Richhpal constructed an RRWHS of 25,000-litre capacity. After the RRWHS got filled, the excess water from Richhpal’s place as well as his neighbour's roof water was diverted for recharging the borewell.
During the year, the village received an annual rainfall of 4,500 mm. The total catchment area is 6,572 square feet, which captured 2,87,400 litres of water for recharging. The collective decision of families for harvesting each drop of rainwater falling on the rooftops of surrounding houses enabled villagers to meet their water requirement.