Water Harvesting

The fast-dwindling water supply system has been revitalised by introducing various methods of rainwater harvesting, and ensuring the efficient utilization of rainwater by establishing catchment and distribution infrastructure. RDT, in association with the government, has built or maintained tanks, bunds and other water bodies for the judicious and optimum use of this precious resource.

There was a growing need to create awareness and understanding about rain-water conservation and harvesting in order to optimise water-usage. Water bodies were built. The process was carried out by Watershed Committees which had 10-12 representatives chosen by RDT. These committees with the help of subject-matter experts and RDT, selected viable land and appointed labour for construction of watershed structures. Between 1988 till the early 2000s watershed structures of limited capacities were constructed and repairs were made to existing structures.

RDT and the State Government have also partnered the villagers under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Development Guarantee Scheme (MG NREGS) in building percolation tanks, renovating older check dams and tanks and building new dams, and pick-up anicut channels (re-channelling streams for irrigation) to ensure reliable storage and redistribution of water for irrigation.

The year 2005 saw a major impetus to the water-harvesting programme with funding from an international donor agency for the ‘Adventure Water Project’.

Under this project, large & old irrigation tanks that were built during the 15th and 16thcenturies, and had been breached due to poor maintenance were renovated & converted to percolation tanks.

“The success of water harvesting project has improved the financial status of farmers in Ananthapuram, who are now accessing better education and transforming their lives. "
Professor in Civil Engineering, SRIT College, Ananthapuram

Additionally, there were also many new tanks built. Around 300 large capacity watersheds ranging between 50 – 300 TMCs were either renovated or built over a period of 3 consecutive years with an average of 100/year

Dams were the most important infrastructure build by RDT. The main goal was storage of water and supply to the fields and villages close to them, not only for productivity of crops and agricultural purposes, but also for personal use.

Subsurface barriers. RDT has built five subsurface waterproofed barriers beneath the top soil level to not let the water seep down further.

Supply channels are built above-ground to transport water from one place to another. Cultivable area has gone up 41% in the last 16 years due to the increased range of water availability made possible by these channels. RDT’s role has been of maintaining channels already laid down by the government

Pick-up Anicuts were built to re-channel/regulate and optimise flows of streams to increase the efficiencies of water distribution for irrigation.


While introducing the water harvesting program, RDT had a futuristic vision, which is to empower Ananthapuram village to become the role model for entire nation. With introduction of the irrigation programmes, especially water harvesting in association with Indian government, it is bettering lives and livelihood prospects, not only in Ananthapuram but also in its nearby regions. Some of the aspects of projects have been replicated in other parts of India as well.

Mr. C.Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy,
Asst. Technical Director


Mr. Sathyamaiah, 43, belongs to a backward community in Nagireddipalli village, Ipperu Panchayat, Kudair Mandal in Ananthapuram district. He has 1 ½ acres of grape garden and, in spite of having 4 bore-wells on his property, he still spent nearly Rs.2,50,000/- on water for the garden due to poor water levels in them. The purchased water came in tankers from 3km away and formed a major portion of his costs.

A group of village farmers including Mr. Sathyamaiah requested RDT to help them construct a Percolation Tank to conserve water in and around the village. The villagers, including Mr. Sathyamaiah, worked enthusiastically with RDT and the job was completed in 2014. Subsequent rains enabled 17 bore wells in the village to recharge. This project was a huge success in the village, as the yields began to improve, pushing up incomes and helping villagers’ prospects flourish.

Mr. Sathyamaiah’s bore-wells were also recharged and enabled substantial cuts to his expenses on watering his crops and improved yields to 16 tonnes and a net income of Rs.6,90,000/-. This year, he expects nearly 32-35 tonnes grapes and an increase in net income of up to 9-10 lakhs.

With RDT’s help, I am no longer depending on purchased water, which has made a big difference to my costs and profits from my farming.”

Mr. Sathyamaiah,


Lack of water meant lack of habitation. Now that the water can be harvested literally on the home turf, there is no more migration to cities as laborers. Farmers particularly youth are staying put and lead a life of dignity.