This project was a Global Grant humanitarian project, totally funded by Rotary International, to which all credit goes. IPSO’s three directors, Dr. Bonanno, Dr. Acharya, and Mr. DiNapoli, participated as project experts (with Dr. Bonanno being also the project leader), delivering training and overseeing all phases of the project.
Water resources management for irrigation and community development in Gunung Kidul, Indonesia
Through the management of water resources, the overall objective of this project is long-term sustainable community development. In particular, this project provided water for irrigation and multiple purposes (drinking excluded) to an area where the local population is suffering from extreme soil degradation and deriving water scarcity. Through the construction of a rainwater harvesting pool, the project was designed so as to provide water for irrigation and other purposes for the whole length of the dry season, so that agricultural activities may be carried out throughout the year without major interruptions (currently there is close to no production during the dry season). This has ensured economic stability, community development and overall safer hygienic conditions. In the last decades, the area has experienced aggressive deforestation and soil degradation. This has resulted in worrying levels of water scarcity and consequent serious malnutrition.
First, the project connected the water grid in the area by constructing a rainwater harvesting pool (complete of a harvesting system) and by connecting it through canals to surrounding fields (around 50 hectares). The local community was involved in the project activities since the very beginning. This project not only provided the local community with the necessary equipment, but it also provided the necessary training for them to be able to manage and monitor the installed system, from both a technical point of view as well as from a general knowledge perspective. This not only ensured the success of the project activities, but it addressed the more important issues of sustainability and shared responsibility.
Although this project did not provide drinking water, the rainwater harvesting pool is a source of relatively clean water that will be used not only for irrigation, but for all other purposes (personal hygiene included, drinking excluded). The community was trained on how to keep it clean and maintain the system. Moreover, all members of the community now have equitable access to this water source. Individuals were also trained on how to safely storage water within their households, thus raising their awareness on the benefits of safe water, sanitation and hygiene in general.
Thanks to the collaboration of the union of farmers, the local community was trained on how to sustainably earn profits throughout the year by continuing their agricultural activities during the dry season, too. This not only provided them with produce for their own consumption, but products in excess are being sold at local markets in the area. Moreover, water harvested in excess is being sold to neighbouring communities with similar needs.
This project ran complementarily with a similar one, implemented in the same geographical area, which addressed the collection and distribution of drinkable water.