Worldwide, women and girls spend 200 million hours or more collecting water every day.*

*UNICEF estimate as of 2016

In the Thar Desert, women and girls trek up to 10 hours daily to collect water from ponds. That is time that keeps girls out of school and mothers from working to earn money. Access to safe, clean water is crucial to sustaining life, and has a profound impact on the path to women's empowerment.

What We Do

Water security interventions leverage traditional water harvesting techniques including maintenance of villageNaadis (rainwater catchment ponds), and building Taankas (rainwater catchment tanks) and Khadins (agricultural rainwater systems).

By implementing these simple water harvesting techniques in Rajasthan, India, we gave back  an estimated 200,000 hours of walking per year to women and girls that could be used for health and hygiene, education, and economic development.

Water security has an incredible impact in the Thar Desert. Hear her story below to learn more about the impact of water security.

When She Catches Water

Watch the Video

Taanka: A 20,000 Liter Water Storage Tank

Taankas are simple rainwater catchment tanks that give back hours of time to women and girls. In addition to storing water, taankas harvest rainwater through special collection techniques, providing households with water for up to 6 months.

During periods of rainfall, rainwater collects in the storage tank through a catchment area, which can be on a rooftop or a slope of land. Silt catchers help filter and clean the water before storage. When rainwater is not available, households hire ox carts or tractor tankers to transport water from a naadi to store in their taanka. Taanka ownership has a profound impact on household health, hygiene, and overall quality of life.

“Now we do not have to get water from far off places. This burden exhausted my entire body. We used to fetch water ten times a day, and occasionally fifteen.” -Sughna, Nayagaon

Naadi: An Oasis in the Desert

A Naadi, also known as a village pond, is a traditional water-harvesting technique that contributes significantly to the water security of a village. Naadis serve as a key source of water for household and livestock consumption. In the desert, Naadis are a lifeline for communities.

Although Naadis have existed for centuries in the Thar Desert, maintaining them became less common over time, leading to degradation of the ponds. When a Naadi is not maintained or desilted, the pond loses its ability to store rainwater over long periods of time. The WomenServe team works alongside communities to provide guidance and support in desilting and reinvigorating unmaintained Naadis.

Through the desilting process, the Naadi can store more water for longer, which is crucial in a region where it rains only one month out of the year. Some Naadis that are well-maintained can provide surrounding communities with a sustainable source of water for a full year.

WomenServe has worked with communities to maintain 9 Naadis across the 6 WomenServe villages- improving water security for over 12,000 people.

Khadin: A Rainwater-Harvesting System

Also known as dhoras and field embankments, Khadins preserve surface runoff that can then be used for farming. The primary component of a Khadin is a long earthen embankment built strategically below slopes to capture excess rainwater. Khadins retain ground water for increased agricultural harvest yield.

Agriculture is a major source of income for communities in rural Rajasthan. Khadins not only contribute to the health and yield of harvests, but also to the income generation and overall livelihood of communities. Where water flows, communities thrive.

WomenServe partners with communities to provide comprehensive training on use and maintenance of Khadins to ensure the greatest benefits.

Naadis (rainwater catchment ponds) built since 2009
Estimated number of hours of walking saved in 2018
Taankas (rainwater catchment tanks) built since 2009