"River from the Sky"
In many parts of the world, you never think of water. In other parts, you think of water day and night. My mission is to end water scarcity, not only in India, but globally.
- BP Agrawal, President
What is Aakash Ganga?
Aakash Ganga (or "River from the Sky" in Hindi) is a rainwater harvesting system specifically developed by Sustainable Innovations to assure safe drinking water to rural communities.
The program is based on a public utility model, where every homeowner in the community with a roof is asked to lease the rights to harvest their rooftop rainwater. They are provided with the gutters, spouts, and pipes that are connected to a network of interconnected underground storage reservoirs.
Rajasthan is the driest state in India. The women in the villages must walk for miles across the desert to fetch water from the well, a chore that can take all day.
Due to the lack of lakes and rivers, the people of Rajasthan depend on aquifers, underground geological formations that contain water, for their water supply. India’s aquifers are losing 60 cubic miles annually - a rate that would turn Lake Erie into a dust bowl in two years.
Aakash Ganga is a rainwater harvesting system that collects rain during the monsoon season for use year-round. The captured rainwater is divided into two parts: one part is stored at the homeowner’s premises for their exclusive use and the other is channeled into the community reservoir. The sharing affords equal access to poor families. Part of the community water is used for horticulture to generate revenue, enough to pay for its upkeep, thus assuring operational sustainability.
There are two types of reservoirs. A Griha Tanka ("home reservoir" in Hindi) of typically 25,000 liter capacity, is connected to each house for the sole use of the home owner’s needs. Some of the water is channeled into a larger Gram Tanka ("village reservoir" in Hindi) of about 400,000 to 1 million liters to provide drinking water to those who live in houses with thatched rooftops that cannot be used for harvesting. Additionally, a portion of the water in the village reservoir is used to generate enough revenue to cover operational costs and then to pay a return to social investors.
where we are
Aakash Ganga is currently implemented in seven villages in Rajasthan, home to 10,000 people. The villages are Raila, Harinagar, Indrasar, Lasedi, Kakreu Kalan, Sanwold and Pilani campus. Aakash Ganga is ready for large scale replication in thousands of villages serving millions of people.
Without the need to travel for miles to fetch water, girls are able to focus on their education.
Easy access to clean drinking water that is bacteria-free improves the health of the villagers and their families.
UNIQUE FEATURES AND INNOVATIONS
Aakash Ganga is designed to be a holistically sustainable Public-Community-Private Partnership (PPCP), one that is sustainable economically, culturally, operationally, institutionally, socially, technologically, and ecologically. The success of the design depends on numerous innovations, some of which are described below:
TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Aakash Ganga’s “social audit” approach affords the villagers the same access privileges to project records as enjoyed by the corporate auditors. Such transparency wins the trust of the people. The example of the project becomes a potent tool that can empower the villagers to challenge and eliminate corruption around them.