In the state of Maharashtra in India lies the village of Ralegan Siddhi. It is an otherwise unassuming area that is prone to droughts and almost arid. However, the village’s circular water solutions have been an environmental conservation model since 1975.
Now, in Gotland, an island in Sweden, similar methods have been introduced. This area does not have enough fresh water. Rupali Deshmukh is the one who brought the knowledge to Gotland from Sweden. She is a researcher with IVL Swedish Institute for Environmental Research. She added that in both places, the major issue is runoff.
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Her research included methods of ponds made of groundwater, as well as check dams that slow how much rainwater runoff escapes. This should enable locals to store, collect, and sanitize the fresh water to use later.
Circular Water Solutions Are Apt For The People And The Environment
Rupali added that more such traditional circular water solutions from India are being introduced. It is required to change the mindset where only the East must learn. Another such technology comes from the area of West Bengal. Dubbed SPONGE, meshes that collect dew and fog and conventional systems for capturing rainwater are combined to get water to potato farmers.
The low-cost low-tech solution is a boon for both the climate as well as the farming communities which are largely traditional. Rupali explained that not many people in the area can handle complicated modern machinery.
The technology also enables women to be more independent and gain a better societal position since they no longer have to spend hours traveling for water. Rupali adds that the government in India is also investing heavily in circulating water solutions. It will improve sanitation as well as unlock the full potential of the country when it comes to industry and agriculture.
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However, the people are still not fully on board with the new circular water solutions. Many Indians do not believe that wastewater can be used again, even if it is sanitized. As a result, there is the risk of public backlash unless they are properly informed.
As such, Rupali suggests involving the locals as much as possible in policymaking and research. She also says that circular water solutions are the future. We stand to lose massively if we do not reuse, recycle and recover.