Project Info

Water Stewardship in India

Russell Merz

Delhi, India


With many parts of India facing water shortages, it is critical for companies that are users of water to demonstrate that they are not placing an undue burden on the water resources of their communities.

A manufacturer with several hundred locations across India is now better able to demonstrate its stewardship by harvesting rainwater and using it to recharge the underground aquifers that hold groundwater. Harvesting methods include collecting water from a building’s roof and redirecting it into the ground, as well as building small catchment dams across watercourses so that water is pooled and can then soak into the ground. In some cases, well-like excavations are made and then filled with gravel to better direct water underground.

To help the manufacturing company demonstrate its water stewardship, Golder conducted field studies and reviewed the rainwater harvesting design and construction records. This helped Golder determine how effective the current methods were for redirecting water into underground aquifers. Our team also conducted an analysis of the techniques used to collect data on water flows, the maintenance measures in place for the rainwater harvesting methods and how communities were involved in the process. Through this work, Golder found several areas in which the client could optimise its harvesting and underground aquifer recharging methods.

Recharging aquifers through rainwater harvesting is a key part of India’s strategy for providing a year-round water supply since frequent and intense droughts and surface and groundwater shortages are a challenge. It is particularly important as much of the yearly rainfall in this region occurs during only a few weeks of the monsoon season. Companies and individuals can compare their monthly or annual water use against the amount they are potentially able to capture and use to replenish groundwater sources. This water balance can tell them if they are “water balance positive” or “water balance negative”, by using less or more than they replenish.

From the overall hydrologic water cycle, this concept is useful to consider even if obtaining water from a surface water source and replenishing groundwater. Many companies consider their “water footprint”, both at a site level and associated with their supply-chain. Most businesses have a supply-chain water footprint that is much larger than their operational water footprint.

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