Harvesting rainwater (India)
The Aakash Ganga (River from the Sky) initiative was developed to alleviate the perennial scarcity of drinking water, by harvesting domestic rainwater. The project channels rooftop rainwater from every house in a village, through gutters and pipes, to a network of multi-tier underground reservoirs. Such systems capture enough rainwater to meet twelve months supply of safe drinking water for a village. Aakash Ganga (AG) has been implemented in 6 villages to provide drinking water to 10,000 people.
The project has developed a two-tier social enterprise model for full cost recovery and sustainability. Villagers contribute as much as 50% of the cost. Infrastructure and maintenance costs are recovered through revenue generation. The initiative is considered to be economically, culturally, organizationally, socially, technologically, operationally and environmentally sustainable.
The Rajasthan Association of North America (RANA) provided the seed capital to launch AG in 2003. In 2006, AG won the World Bank's Development Marketplace Award in its global competition. The initiative is also being studied to examine how replicate and scale it up. The Indian Prime Minister's Office encouraged Sustainable Innovations to submit a plan for implementing AG in Rajasthan in 2007. Now, the 100-village plan is being evaluated for implementation as a public-private-community partnership (or social enterprise) providing drinking water to thousands of people in perpetuity.
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