Back to the Roots for a Sustainable Future: Nainital Embraces Traditional Water Conservation


Nainital: The water conservation initiative in Nainital, Uttarakhand, led by environmentalists Dr. Bikrant Tiwary and Supriya Patil, aims to revive traditional practices to harness rainwater effectively. With a strong women-centric focus, the initiative, which coincides with Earth Day, demonstrates the importance of preserving natural resources.

Chals, large pits dug into hillsides, will be used to store rainwater, with a collective capacity of up to 1.5 million litres. Khals, smaller structures, will hold 6,25,000 litres of water, ensuring a stable supply during dry periods and preventing soil erosion. With 80 per cent of the workforce comprised of women, the initiative aims to empower them and enhance their role in community development. Beyond water conservation, it promotes holistic community development by replenishing underground springs and supporting biodiversity. What sets this project apart is its self-sustainability, as it does not rely on government funding.

Dr. Bikant Tiwary, known for his transition from the insurance and service sectors to philanthropy, advocates for a greener, sustainable future aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). His vision includes nature conservation, preservation, and promoting tribal art and eco-friendly handicrafts, envisioning a future where indigenous tribes thrive in harmony with nature. Additionally, he spearheads a pioneering initiative to preserve over 15 million litres of rainwater annually under his Individual Social Responsibility, marking a significant step towards environmental sustainability.

Supriya Patil, a seasoned environmentalist, has led impactful initiatives, including planting 17 million trees in India and Africa. She emphasises merging sustainability with social impact and aims to plant millions more trees for carbon reduction and rural community empowerment.

The focus is on expanding this initiative to States like Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, and Maharashtra. Dr. Bikant Tiwary’s commitment to reviving traditional wisdom serves as a model for achieving water security and sustainable livelihoods in Nainital and beyond, highlighting the effectiveness of grassroots initiatives in addressing environmental challenges.