Presence of limited water resources coupled with a decline in rainfall in the areas around sambar salt lake over the past thirty years has aggravated the problem of water. The quality of groundwater has also deteriorated as the amount of fluorides and salinity has been constantly increasing. The prevalent social issues also add to the inequitable access to safe drinking water. To ensure conservation of water resources and its accessibility to everyone, Manthan has come up with two programmes- Watershed constructions and Reverse Osmosis Plants. This will also enable communities to sustain their traditional livelihoods.
The scarcity and deterioration in quality of water has had an impact on different stakeholders- the local environment, the health of the communities and the economic conditions of farmer and cattle rearers. Hence, a long-term rain water harvesting project was started to create pockets of freshwater. Phase-I of the project was coordinated by Foundation for Rural Recovery and Development (FORRAD), New Delhi and funded by Coca Cola Foundation. 24 structures (anicuts, ponds and mini dams) were constructed in 15 villages around Ajmer, Jaipur and Nagaur districts of Rajasthan.
The benefits of the project have been multi-pronged. The project has resulted in an improvement in the quality of water. It has helped revive traditional livelihoods like agriculture and cattle rearing. It has also generated employment opportunities for daily wage earners at the watershed site and in agricultural fields. Since its inception, a total storage capacity of 773 million litres has been created and a cumulative volume of 1.2 billion litres water has been collected. Over 54,000 lives in 24 villages have been impacted through this project.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plants
The drinking water in the areas surrounding the Sambhar Salt Lake has turned saline, leaving no sources of fresh water for the villagers. Manthan collaborated with Barefoot College and Central Salt and Marine Chemical Research Institute to install solar powered Reserve Osmosis Plants (RO) plants in 4 villages (Kotri, Bhopa ki Dhani, Jhag and Sinodiya). The RO plants filter the salt and fluorides present in the groundwater making it fit for drinking.Manthan also trained the local community to manage and operate these plants. The initiative has now made 5000 litres of clean water available to 400 people.