In a story typical of 'development,' the advice of the water engineers was to install hand pumps. At great expense ground water was exploited going deeper and deeper. The result was not sustainable. Today, the only way to revitalize the thousands of dry hand pumps is artificial ground water recharge.
Since 1986, the College has focused on rain water harvesting instead: by using local materials, village skills and voluntary labor from the community, it is possible to construct tanks to collect large quantities of rainwater. There is no need to exploit water from great depths using prohibitively expensive machines. In the hills, in the deserts, in the tribal areas where remote rural schools have no water it can be collected at $0.10 cents/liter. For the cost of one drilling rig it was possible to collect 12 million liters of rainwater in 107 schools and give a thousand people jobs for four months.
The choice is clear.
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Find out more about the Barefoot College's various projects at: www.barefootcollege.org.