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Ensuring the future flow of potable water - giving rainwater back to the Earth through bore well recharge.

Both drinking water and sanitation require a good secure water supply. Our work ensures water is available for these needs.

Photo of Sikandar Meeranayak
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Imagine a world where everyone has access to plenty of water, crops grow freely - green and healthy and everyone has clean abundant water to drink. 

That’s what Sikander Meeranayak did as he looked around his dried up village and asked himself that driving question.

“What can I do to make change? How can I create a better life for my children and all the children around me?”

And his answer came in the understanding that if the villagers and farmers had access to an abundant supply of water their lives would be enhanced in many ways. If they had plenty of clean water they could irrigate their crops, water their livestock and would lead better and healthier lives.  As they grew more crops with greater variety, their income would also grow. They would be empowered to educate their children, have better health care, to lead more sustainable lives and would have no need to leave their families and village to seek work in the cities.

As he set out to study, implement, refine and discover better ways to bring water to the parched lands and the dried up bore wells he experimented with existing water harvesting methods. This trial and error method led him to develop a unique form of rain water borewell recharge system which is cost effective, permanent and easy to implement. He has gone on to assisting over 400 farmers with a proven and economical solution to their water difficulties. He has also installed the same method on schools, public buildings - industrial sites and housing societies. 

Sikandar has a guiding dream. He keeps fixed in the forefront of his mind and his work that by 2030 water scarcity in India will be a thing of the past. He envisages creating 1000 borewell recharge systems per year and that this simple easily installed technology will spread to all the surrounding districts. He sees his role as helping people to understand this system so that they can build it themselves and the spread will become vast.

This is his story - but it is not only his story - through his vision already more than 
four hundred farming families now have a new story. 

A story of hope, of an abundance of food, and the possibilities of a better life 
opening before them - given by a bountiful water supply.

You can see more about the work of our organisation at

Sikandar and a good flow of water from a successfully recharged bore well.


  • We dig a 10x10 feet percolation pit around the bore well -  and an adjoining catchment area (pond) is excavated (this pond does not need to take up a large area)
  • Stone pitching is done around the walls of the percolation pit
  • A 3 inch layer of sand is made at the bottom of the pit
  • Holes or slits are made in the bore well casing pipe and we then cover it with mesh - to ensure nothing but water goes into the bore well.
  • Cement rings are placed around the bore well pipe and that area is left open. The cement rings are concreted together
  • The remaining area of the pit outside the cement rings is filled with sand, stone and gravel.
  • Rain water from the catchment area (pond)  gets transferred to the percolation pit
  • This then seeps in through the sand and gravel outside of the Cement rings - and 
  • The water filters up through the sand in the base of the cement rings and fills the area around the pipe casing.
  • And then enters into the bore well through the protective mesh and the holes.
    Recharge System on Bore Well

Bore well Recharge Success

We have see that if the percolation pit fills well for at least three good rains then the water level will be considerably increased after the first monsoon.  There are more photos at the top of our submission as well as on our website at 

A Postscript to the work of Sankalpa Rural Development Society:

Since the outset of this challenge we have also developed a concept which may asssist us all to bring our work to more people - we hope you may join with us and bring this vision to the full extent of its possibilities for good work to happen in a widespread manner.


WASH Training Management Centre

3rd May 2016, Update on our current work: In the intensity of the drought conditions throughout the areas where our work is focused, (Karnataka) many villages have no access to drinking water.  SRDS with the support of Infosys is organising and supplying water tankers to more than 40 villages.  This action although essential and literally life saving for the villagers, is short term and only a 'stop gap.'  

Our core work that of implementing bore well recharge systems is progressing at the same time - with as many as possible being done before the coming rains.  In this way we are working to alleviate the need for emergency water supplies in the following dry season with an abundant supply of water from bore wells where implementation has occurred and the monsoon waters have been fed into the underlying aquifers.

We will also prepare submissions at Governmental level to encourage legislation for the  compulsory implementation of recharge systems on all new bore wells that are being dug throughout India. In this way the bore wells will become assets rather than a drain and a risk to the future of the precious ground water.

How would you describe the stage of development of your idea?

  • Scaling phase

How big or scalable is the potential of your idea?

In 2011, the estimated number of wells and borewells in India was around twenty-seven million, with borewells accounting for more than 50 percent. Interestingly, small and marginal farmers (with landholding sizes of less than two hectare) accounted for over two-thirds of the households that own borewells. Since that time countless bore wells have been drilled sometimes to the depth of more than 1000 feet and the level of the groundwater is severely depleted in many states. It is clear that the scalability of this project is vast - training partners and field workers is the main area of scaling up - the challenge is to find the trusted partners who will do the work in the best way possible. Education and collaboration with both villagers and farmers is essential in order to spread awareness of the possibilities of water harvesting for their future needs.

Explain the sustainability aspect of your idea

The bore well recharge system is easy to implement, cost effective and a permanent solution to the problems farmers and villagers face with dry or drying up bore wells. The maintenance of the system is minimal and can easily be carried out by the farmer or beneficiary. With the success of the implementation those who have remained skeptical will be convinced and will go ahead and utilise the system on further bore wells. The method can be applied also to the public bore wells in the villages - not only providing water for the villagers but also diluting any heavy mineral pollution such as arsenic or flouride in the underground water table rendering previously unpotable water to be drinkable. Also when water is hard due to mineral load, the deposits on the pipelines and pumps very quickly suffer blockage which creates water supply problems therefore water supply lines are much easier to maintain after bore well recharge. As the farmer contributes 50% of the cost of the implementation, the responsibility is clearly taken up by him/her to keep the system working.

What types of financing would be required for your idea to be successful?

The bore well charge system in the rural bore wells requires an investment of between INR 30-40,000 depending on the availability and price of the raw materials required such as sand. A low cost alternative has been developed that in some cases can cost as little as INR 15,000. The beneficiary currently pays 50% of the cost and 50% is provided by SRDS. These funds need to be raised. Financing currently comes from donations from corporations and foundations and other interested parties. Partial government funding can also be accessed through schemes such as MGNREGA. Funding is also available from the income generated by consulting fees and construction of rain water harvesting bore well recharge systems in urban and industrial locations - using rooftop rainwater harvesting to recharge existing bore wells. The intention is to ultimately create a Corpus Fund which will provide an annual interest to finance SRDS.

If you are proposing to partner with other organizations, please explain their role and reason for partnership.

SRDS has already partnered with the government in recharging public bore wells. This partnership will be continued in some circumstances. For example we have a current project to recharge 70 bore wells in one area where the government funds will come through the local Panchyat (governing body) through the MGNREGA scheme. We need to raise the funds simply to cover the cost of the technical expertise input for each bore well. Once this project is done it will serve as a model for greater implementation through the same process. Otherwise in order to scale up - we are seeking partnership with organisations and individuals in other states - for training in the technology so that the work can spread to all India. In this case the role of SRDS will be provision of technical support and education and awareness trainings. We are currently developing a model for collaboration - as a result of this challenge - which will involve the Gram Panchayat and other organisations such as those building toilets and providing drinking water - to make a central centre for water management training and awareness where all of us can work together on education. See

In-country experience

  • Yes, for two or more years

If you have been operating in India, what has been your focus?

Our primary focus has been Water harvesting through bore well recharge. Over 450 implemented to date. Self Help Groups with microfinance - this creates a network of women to whom the need for rain water harvesting can be spread as well as other educational aspects such as the importance of clean drinking water and sanitation. Currently collaborating with Deshpande Foundation to provide emergency drinking water by tanker to 27 villages who are suffering under drought conditions in Karnataka. Construction of simple low cost toilets of individual families in collaboration with the Government sanitation schemes. Supply of RO filtration units in the village with the collaboration of the local governing body.

Is your organization currently legally registered in India?

  • Yes

What states or districts will you target/are you targeting within India?

Karnataka and all other states within India. We have already implemented this technology in Maharasthra, Andra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born and brought up in a small village called Kotumachagi in the Gadag District which is an area that is prone to drought. As I grew up I looked around and asked myself 'What can I do to help the people of this village to have a better life" At that time for drinking water we had travel 3 -4 kms to take water from the farm ponds whenever there was problems with the government taps. I began to do research into water harvesting. Joining the Deshpande Social Entrepreneurship Program was wonderful for me and through this association and the research with their help I formed SRDS and refined the methods of bore well recharge through rainwater harvesting into the form that it is now. I have a special team - who are very important to the work and support me a lot. I believe in order to have enough water for all for the continuation of a good life we must give it back to the earth. We cannot go on always taking without giving back and not suffer the consequences.

Is this a new or recent idea for your organization? How does it differ from what you are already doing?

This question is answered above. But the idea of establishing Training Centres in collaboration with other projects is a recent idea evolving specifically from this challenge. It builds on our ability to spread awareness and the need for recharging the water table.

What are the two or three biggest risks for your idea and how will you manage the risks?

The biggest risk is that there is an ongoing drought - that rain will not fall - and that the recharge pond will not fill so the bore well will not receive the water it needs. BUT that said it only needs three heavy rains.. three fillings of the small feeder pond and the bore well will be recharged. The second major risk for us is finding, training and retaining good teams - for without a good team our work cannot grow. We plan to minimise this risk by giving our team good equity in our organisation and continuing to create motivation for them by progressive team management.

How would you propose to track or record the households or customers reached?

Currently we have computer systems and a very good employee who is taking care of our accounts and our records. As we implement bore well recharge systems each bore well that is recharged will be tracked using GPS and Google Maps - the location and details entered. Follow up visits and surveys are done after the first rainy season to record results.

If you had two years and $250,000 USD in funding, how many households or customers would you reach?

In two years we could implement 450 bore well recharge systems - operating in 3 districts in 10 villages for each district. That will affect the lives of not only the individual farmers, but also their extended families as well as the more public bore wells in the villages. Each bore well that is implemented has a flow on effect to the underlying aquifer so it not only recharges that bore well, but also will raise the water table thus creating accessible water for others.

How would you propose to invest $250,000 USD if you received philanthropic/grant funding support from

The area we are currently working in has suffered severe drought and the people have little funds to invest. Therefore with the grant funding support we would be able to increase our contribution to the recipients of the bore well recharge from our customary 50% of the costs of implementation to 75% - thereby being able to assist more people who are in great need. We also want to join with others to create training/education centres where we can spread the work together so some funds will be allocated to this aspect of the project.

What type of support beyond grant funding are you most interested in?

Advisory support - how to strengthen our organisation - we have good technology - but finding, training and retaining good teams to support our work is of most difficulty to us. Also support in setting up and establishing the proposed Water Management Training Centres will be required. Government engagement in creating legislation for bore well recharge being standard practice would be also of great interest.

Does your organization have Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) approval?

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Team (3)

Sikandar's profile
Shazar's profile
Shazar Robinson

Role added on team:

"Shazar is a volunteer / advisor to SRDS and has her own organisation in Australia called Water Harvest Foundation. She assists us with fundraising, proposal writing, and web design amongst other activities."

vijay's profile
vijay sampath

Role added on team:

"Very interested in collaboratitng with AquaSphere as their model of a Water Park fits well with the concept of a Water Management Activity Centre in every village to spread our work and connect with the people."

This inspired (1)



Join the conversation:

Photo of Dr Simon M Holland

Hi Sikander,

I think you are working in a an area which is hot and always needed by every one.. for the leaving, and we all aware that how precious is water. Recharging the water and making water available to drink and house hold or agriculture use.

Great going.



Photo of Sikandar Meeranayak

Thank you Dr Holland - if there is any way in which we can collaborate please email us
info at  Best wishes to you .  Sikandar

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