From Maoist-hit Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh to Changlang in Arunachal Pradesh, and Ballia in Uttar Pradesh to South Andaman, maximum number of districts in the country are now under the Centre’s mammoth drive to build ‘rain centres’ to guide people in constructing Rainwater Harvesting Structures (RWHS).
Almost 623 districts covering 31,150 villages across the country have been targeted to set up these ‘rain centres’, which will act as technical guidance centres for all the districts, teaching them how to ‘catch the rain, as it falls, where it falls’ under the ‘Catch the Rain’ initiative.
The target is to set up these rain centres at every district, collectorate, municipality and gram panchayat headquarters in order to meet the present challenges facing the water sector, said a project report released by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
Every rain centre will have a dedicated mobile phone number and will be manned by an engineer or a person well trained in RWHS.
The rain centres are aimed at taking forward the National Water Mission’s (NWM) ‘Catch the Rain’ campaign that was launched in February.
These centres will assist all the stakeholders in creating appropriate RWHS suitable to the climatic conditions and sub-soil strata before the onset of monsoon.
Under the NWM campaign, drives will be carried out to make water harvesting pits, rooftop RWHS, check dams; remove encroachments and de-silting of tanks to increase their storage capacity; remove obstructions in the channels which bring water to them from the catchment areas; and repair the stepwells and use defunct bore-wells to put the water back to the aquifers.
“The NWM has requested the states and the district magistrates to establish rain centres in every district headquarters. In the future, these centres can be developed into ‘Jal Shakti Kendras’, which will act as knowledge centres on water-linked topics like RWHS, restoration, desilting of water bodies, ground water recharging, water saving practices in agriculture, industry, drinking water ect.,” the Ministry of Jal Shakti project report mentioned.
The state governments have started to set up rain centres in their respective districts, it said.
“A number of districts in the country, including Dantewada, Changlang, Balia and South Andaman, have responded to our request and have already started setting up rain centres in their districts,” the report said.
The NWM had requested the state governments, Central ministries, Airport Authority of India (AAI), Railway Board, Army, IAF, Navy, universities, IITs, IIMs, Central Armed Police Forces, Ordnance Factory Board, Sports Authority of India, Military Engineering Services, Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), and the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) to create rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge structures and to support the NWM in its Catch the Rain initiative.
The AAI has affirmed that it has already implemented various measures to store and recharge rainwater to the aquifers at most of the airports, thus contributing to the Catch the Rain campaign of the NWM.
In addition, RWHS is also being implemented at all the major airport projects of AAI, the ministry said.
“Many organisations have also responded to our request for supporting the Catch the Rain campaign and informed us about the details of the activities undertaken by them. The campaign is also endorsed by dignitaries like the Vice President of India; Vice Chairman, NITI Ayog; CEO, NITI Ayog; senior government officials; and water experts Sonam Wangchuck and Anil Joshi, among others,” the ministry added.