Innovative Water Conservation Practices in India


Author: Shikha Shah

In our previous post – Water Conservation Methods in India, we showcased some of the best traditional water conservation techniques, in this post we have covered some of the innovative water conservation practices. Let’s have a look at the list of some modern innovative water conservation techniques that have been developed in India in recent times:

Rooftop Rain Water Harvesting

Water Conservation - Roof Top Rain waterHarvesting System
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All of us who directly consume water are the most important stakeholders in managing water. While many of us urbanites use or waste a lot of water, we rarely make an effort to conserve it. Fortunately, the rainwater harvesting method has provided a solution that can be practiced easily in every household. It is a simple model where the roof acts as a catchment for rainfall, which after flowing through a series of filters and pipes is stored in ground-level containers for direct use or recharged into ground water. Given below is a simple formula to calculate the water that can be collected from your rooftop.

Tech Specs Table

Rain water harvested (in cubic meter) = roof area (square meter)*average annual rainfall (mm)*runoff coefficient

Type of CatchmentRunoff Coefficient
Roof top0.75 – 0.95
Paved Area0.50 – 0.85
Bare Ground 0.10 – 0.20
Green Area0.05 – 0.10
So, an area of 1,000 square feet with 1 inch of rainfall is estimated to yield 550 gallons of water. For an existing building, the cost of water harvesting systems can range from INR10,000 to INR30,000. Designs have been formulated for both pucca and kutcha houses to make it a household activity. In a running model, the stored water has been widely used for irrigation, domestic usage as well as animals. D&D Ecotech services, Jalprapat drillers, water harvesters and Nirmal Jal are some of the reliable service providers of this technology. For new buildings (with more than 100 sq meter area), rainwater harvesting has been made mandatory by few state governments like Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, etc.

Ferro-cement Tanks

Water Conservation - Roof Water Conservation - Construction of Ferro Tank
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This is a low-cost alternative for expensive water harvesting containers made of masonry, plastic and RCC. It has proved highly effective in high rainfall regions where large amount of water need to stored in clean form. These tanks requiring materials like sand, cement, mild steel bar and galvanized iron wire mesh, can be easily constructed by semi skilled labours. It’s light in weight and can be moulded into any shape required. It is believed to last for around 25 years with little maintenance. Picture above shows a ferro-cement tank under construction. It can be appropriate for use in Indian villages and disaster prone areas as its fireproof and tough in build.

Cycle Run Water Pumps

Water Conservation - Bike Water Pump
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A saver of time and cost of electricity and fuel, this technology utilizes human power generated by pedalling a bicycle to lift water from streams, ponds, canals and wells. When the cycle is pedalled, it creates an up and down motion of pistons which pressurizes water flow to an outlet. A portable model which can be installed on site has also been developed. Designed for small-scale farmers who don’t have the capacity to afford costly diesel rum motors, this arrangement can bring a flow of 100 litres per minute. The complete unit made of cast iron and aluminium costs around INR2500 to 7000.

These pumps have also supported women, kids and old people who at times found operating hand pumps in bend position a strenuous task. Some models have replaced bicycle by steppers (commonly seen if gyms), making pumping water a healthy and fun activity. In India, it was conceptualized by poor farmer from a village of West Bengal, Nasiruddin Gayen in 1980s. Xylam water solutions, a Vadodra based company is also designing and selling this innovation. If made applicable in urban areas, this concept can do wonders in making people realize importance of water and lose some calories too.

See-saw Joy Pumps

Ever imagined filling up an overhead tank by kids playing around? This innovation was designed to mitigate water scarcity problems in villages with no clean surface water source, no electricity and poor monetary capacity. Attached below a merry-go-round wheel or a see-saw, is an arrangement similar to a conventional hand pump. As children ride on these wheels, groundwater is drawn and tank (around 8-10 meters above ground) is filled. It can also be used to pump water from bore wells and large storage tankers. It can be installed even at far off places and has easy maintenance. It’s basically a community structure and can be set up in schools, parks, villages and relief camps. It has been used in developing countries like India and Africa. Span Pumps, a Pune based company is designing such pumps in India.

Rain Water Syringe

Water Conservation - Rain Water Syringe
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Most of the open wells and tube wells in coastal areas contain salty water due to seepage of seawater. Rainwater harvesting is a viable option for solving the issue of drinking water, but the construction of rainwater overhead tanks is unaffordable for marginal farmers. Antoji in Kerala has innovated a cost-effective method for harvesting rainwater in coastal areas. Rainwater is collected from the roof tops of houses and stored in a pressure tank on the ground and with the help of PVC pipes, water is lowered below sea level (16-24 feet). The water is retained in the underground water column which is then harvested during summer by a simple piston pump or motor by constructing a tube well in the vicinity. It has proved successful in diluting recharging ground water in coastal areas of Kerela and Antoji has installed 150 tanks in different parts of Kerala.

Water Wheel

Water Conservation - Wello Water Wheel
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This innovation comes from a foreign visitor who was inspired by women from villages of Rajasthan, who carried round earthen pots for long distances in hot weather. This invention has made carrying water not only an effortless but fun activity. It is a round wheel-shaped storage tanker with an attached handle to provide painless mobility. It has already become popular in villages of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Designed to reduce drudgery and save time for working women, the water wheel can store up to 50 litres of water in hygienic conditions. It’s designed for endure rough terrains and made from high quality poly carbonate. But it is not affordable, costing around INR2,000. It was innovated by a US-based social entrepreneur, Cynthia Koeing under an organisation called Wello.




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Shikha Shah has been working on water conservation and rural development activities ever since she joined TERI University for her master’s degree in Water Resources Management. She is currently an aspiring social entrepreneur working in the Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI) cell of IIT Madras.


  1. Thank you so much Shika , for the information about water conservation . This needs to be shared and an awareness created about it at an all India level both with the Central and State Governments . With two poor years of monsoons , drought is raging across nine states in India currently .


    • Good initiative, must be implemented all over the places in India for saving the water for our future generations. Govt. also need to take more effort on it for encouraging and supporting people to do it better and effective way. Adequate awareness seminar shall be organized and sufficient training shall be provided for the plumber for the installation and maintenance.

      • Dear Shyju,
        thank you very much for your suggestion of organising awareness seminars. we are eager to provide both awareness and training. If you are interested, we can help you organise one event in your area

  3. Your matter is very commendable and interesting.I enjoyed in reading it.AND THIS HELPED ME IN DOING MY HOLIDAY HOMEWORK TOO.PLEASE WRITE MORE.

  4. […] This year, the summer has been extremely hot in India. Phalodi in Rajasthan, for example, recorded a temperature of 51°C – the highest ever recorded in India. Many states, such as Maharashtra, were hit by a severe drought and drinking water had to be transported through ‘water trains’. This crisis has led to renewed efforts to search for better methods to conserve water. […]

  5. Drought Less World -Water Sustainability for Globe -24 X 7 Water Supply by Using Existing Resources And Simple and Effective Method of Ground Water Recharge

    1.This principle of adjusting the outlet discharge less than or equal to the inlet discharge in the bore wells (by adjusting capacity of pump , diameter of the pipe and introducing the regulatory valve at outlet) give us the wonderful result for effective water supply which save water, save electricity, save time and money and serves nation up to great extent.

  6. There are some states in India which mandate people harvest rainwater? There are states in the US that have made the collections of rainwater from ones own property illegal, punishable by fines and/or incarceration.

    • Yes Dee,
      it is truly ironic that this kind of differences exist in laws across countries. but as much as i know the right to own any mineral deposit found under your own ground is well preserved in the US, so how is it illegal in some states?

  7. Very nice shikha…
    Really very good information about water conservation. Collecting rainwater is not more difficult. we can easily collect them in homes, farms, working places everywhere. it’s installation is very easy. we can provide you all assistance about how you can collect or install rainwater system.

  8. I am Antoji, living in a coastal village near Cochin, where the underground water level is almost same as sea level. In this area salinity level of the ground water is very high at around 2400ppm. Along with the rain water injection system now I am taking 134 ppm level fresh water…next year I am expecting below 100ppm.. .National Innovation Foundation gave me a good support at 2009 November, Thank you….

    • Dear Antoji,
      Thank you very much for your interest in our site. we can surely feature about your work on rainwater injection. you can log onto our Green Directory and list your Anjo Aqua company freely

  9. We are a Retirement Community in Coimbatore Tamilnadu. I am a technical person. Request capable agencies Name, address / phone etc. who can study and provide solutions for (1) RWH (2) Bio-STP. Thanks

  10. Thanks, this really help us to know the new water saving method we know this information help us to create more awareness among the farmer and I have some idea to save water in agriculture land can any body to invest my ideas it will help us.

  11. 1988 November even!ng ! found water through a half !nch hose go!ng to the below sea level area, ,That was the tern!ng …

  12. Our club have an excess fund and are interested in installing a water conversion idea in association with the police. The Police Station shall be used for the project. We would like assistance / ideas for a plan which will be a role model for the society to act upon

  13. Dear Madam
    We would like to introduce ourself as a group of committed seasoned professionals working towards the integrated RURAL UPLIFTMENT through root of conservation of triple natural resources JAL JANGAL JAMEEN i.e.Water Conservation Projects by Vasundhara.

    We are pleased to inform you that our work has been appreciated by various Social and Government Organisation. We have so far received 22 different recognition for the noble work , which has been carried out by Vasundhara Sanjivani Mandal , path breaking projects using latest technology at Kheware tal Murbad has been appreciated non other than SHRI EKNATHJI SHINDE, CHIEF MINISTER himself and this kind of work is being replicated by district authorities elsewhere.We would like to get attached with you for new projects to be implemented in water Conservation.

  14. On 2020 period by Cyclon ,bulk quantity of salt water from Arabian Sea entered to our Chellanam village.I recorded the sea water level of 70 cm at Chellanam St Marys HS.., 75 cm at Bazar side 65 cm at gond parambu,and my residence at Combanippadi 53 cm. Our full compound and four steps covered with salt water. I totally disappointed But a miracle happened.. 🙏🙏🙏My rain water syringe unit supplied 50ppm fresh water 👌👌🙏It is now fresh water… 🙏🙏🙏🙏.


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