Fellow Since 1998
Doodhatolli Lok Vikash Sansthan
This profile was prepared when Sachidanand Bharati was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
Based in Ufreikhal, a village at the height of 6000 feet above sea level in Pauri Garwhal, Sachidanand Bharati is demonstrating and filling the gaps in the prevalent water management policies and practices of the region. He is bringing traditional wisdom, local practices, and new, practical re-greening techniques into an organized model of optimal rainwater use to be managed and spread by women. The model aims to arrest the water crisis in the mountain villages of North India in the next five years and to reenact the spirit of female activism that the region witnessed during the Chipko movement. The design is friendly to the region and construction is quick and cheap. A water pit takes two men one day to dig and costs Rs.50 (approximately US $1.45). The main motors of the model, groundwater channels, are fed by rainwater harvested optimally through the year. The channels service communities by irrigating cultivable plots naturally. As an effective alternative, Bharati's water conservation project has, since its origins in a trip to Rajasthan in 1992, been tested and has now spread to 30 villages and created a network of small support pits, 1000 large pits and 25 main ponds. As a result, it has given back to the communities a natural watershed spread over a vast expanse with a retention capacity of 75,000 liters.