The prospect of rainwater harvesting :the relationship between water supply contamination and community participation in rural Karnataka, India

Kanwar, Pooja S.
Michael Simpson, MS
Department of Environmental Studies
Rainwater harvesting is an ancient form of technology, though holds as much importance today as it ever did before. The drought prone state of Karnataka, India is suffering from falling groundwater tables and contaminated surface waters as a result of large scale dam and tube well projects. Harvesting rainwater has the potential to be an environmentally viable and sustainable solution for the future, as long as the quality of the water is adequate for domestic use. The purpose of this study is to examine the quality of rainwater captured through rooftop collection systems in a rural village of Karnataka, India and compare these findings with the degree of community participation involved with the harvesting technology. 125 households in the village of Gandathur (rural Karnataka, India) were examined in a study assessing the contaminant level of harvested rainwater in relation to the degree of community participation relative to regular operations and maintenance procedures with each catchment system. The results revealed that 29.6% of 37 out of the 125 rainwater harvesting systems, supplied water that was not suitable for human consumption. This project aims to alleviate water supply and water quality concerns through the knowledge obtained from a scientifically quantitative and socially qualitative study, investigating harvested rainwater for domestic potable use.