Catch the rain, fix water crisis: How Odisha leads by example

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Source: Down to Earth

Relevance: Fighting water crisis in India, Odisha model of rain water harvesting

Synopsis: Urbanization poses a threat to our natural environment, it is leading to water scarcity, disasters, loss of biodiversity and more. However, sustainable urbanization can offer a solution for the emerging urban problems as reflected by Odisha model.


Most Indian states in the last one decade have observed irregularity in rainfall pattern leading to water crisis and drought-like situation in some places while heavy rainfall led to floods in others.

What is Rain water harvesting?

Rain water harvesting comprises collecting run-off from a structure or other impervious surface to store it for use. It is used to conserve rainwater that runs off from rooftops, parks, roads and open grounds by collecting, storing, conveying and purifying it.

Need for rainwater harvesting

The rapid growth of urban areas has adversely affected natural recharge of groundwater aquifers. With this, surface water runoff has increased, thereby limiting its infiltration into the ground and causing water scarcity.

Rainwater harvesting can offer a great solution in such situations. Observing the irregularity in rainfall and increase flood frequency, many states have already adopted such steps to install rainwater harvesting system in their cities to reduce surface water runoff.

Odisha model
  • The state of Odisha has developed 12,000 rainwater harvesting structures (RWHS) to facilitate water conservation and groundwater recharge. This has been done in 2,035 wards of 114 urban local bodies under the state-wide campaign “Catch the Rain: Where it Falls and When it Falls”.
  • This was completed under Mukhyamantri Karma Tatpara Abhiyan (MUKTA), an urban wage employment scheme for migrant workers.
Unique features of the model
  • Cost-effective: The rainwater harvesting system developed by Odisha is cost-effective, involves no complex technologies and require less maintenance. It can be completed in 7-10 days.
  • Simple recharge mechanism: The recharge mechanism under the system is also simple and easy to maintain.
  • Geo-tagging of sites: To strengthen the transparency and accountability, it is mandatory for the sites to be geotagged.
  • MUKTA Scheme: It is completed under MUKTA scheme, which is an urban wage employment scheme for migrant workers, thus also provides livelihood opportunities to urban poor


Rainwater harvesting is a way forward for the emerging water crisis. The anthropogenic activities have played a major role in furthering climate crisis, leading to overconsumption of underground water and depletion of groundwater table. Thus, there is need to promote models of rain water harvesting similar to Odisha

Also read: PM launched Jal Shakti Abhiyan: “Catch the rain” campaign
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