News & EventsDawoodi Bohras Launch Global Program to Conserve Rainfall Water

Dawoodi Bohras Launch Global Program to Conserve Rainfall Water

This story was reported in Awaz The Voice on June 15, 2023.

Recognising the global water scarcity issues, the leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community, His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, in his recent address to community members in Mombasa, Kenya, stressed the importance of preserving and conserving water.

“Following the instructions of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, a team of over 200 community officials were mobilised to visit more than 250 villages, towns and cities in India to study the strain on existing water supplies and provide support for building a more resilient and sustainable water management system”, said Shabbir Najmuddin, Associate Executive Trustee of Burhani Foundation, the community’s 30-year-old environmental body which is leading this initiative in collaboration with other organisations.

A young volunteer at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, props a sticker near the kitchen sink to serve as a reminder to conserve water.

“As part of the first phase of the water conservation program, we targeted water-challenged areas in India by guiding them to harvest rainwater in their backyards, wells, ponds and other local catchment areas,” Najmuddin added, awareness programs were also held at educational institutions and community centres to showcase various methods of rainwater harvesting and their benefits in revitalising depleted groundwater levels.

“Various stakeholders in the water management field and municipalities were also consulted and involved in the survey to gauge the local conditions and take their opinions in adopting methods that best suit the region’s topography,” he added.

By collecting rainwater from the roof of our hall and parking area which we give on rent for weddings and other functions, we’re harnessing the power of rain to replenish the groundwater in the neighbourhood.

Jaffer Shabbir (36) from Savda village next to Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh, India.
Volunteers assessing a borewell
A simple pipe running from the roof to the ground is all it takes to help conserve water
Community officials were accompanied by experts who provided advice on the installation of harvesting systems based on the geology of the ground
Students take part in a seminar to learn the basics of rainwater harvesting.
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Volunteers assessing a borewell
A simple pipe running from the roof to the ground is all it takes to help conserve water
Community officials were accompanied by experts who provided advice on the installation of harvesting systems based on the geology of the ground
Students take part in a seminar to learn the basics of rainwater harvesting.
previous arrow
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For the long-term rollout of the program, Burhani Foundation is identifying project coordinators from each area who will be tagged to experts to troubleshoot issues and facilitate the installation of rainwater harvesting systems in their regions. In the coming days, the Foundation is also going to reach out to community representatives from across the globe to harness the power of rainfall in their regions and share best practices for other areas to adopt. Besides that, the Trust is also rejuvenating defunct wells in the identified areas.

During the survey of rainwater harvesting in households, 43-year-old Ismail Raja from Shahada, a town in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra, shared, “We installed a rainwater harvesting system in our backyard two years ago to recharge our borewell. Since then we have never faced water shortage as our borewell provides water not just to our families but also at times to our neighbours.”

Another community member, Jaffer Shabbir (36) from Savda village next to Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh, is using a simple yet effective solution to recharge the nearby well which had run dry in 2017. He says, “By collecting rainwater from the roof of our hall and parking area which we give on rent for weddings and other functions, we’re harnessing the power of rain to replenish the groundwater in the neighbourhood.”

A team of over 200 community officials were mobilised to visit more than 250 villages, towns and cities in India to help provide support for building a more resilient water management system.

Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin‘s unwavering commitment to environmental conservation reflects in his broader vision of leading a harmonious and sustainable life. In his sermons, he continues to counsel the community to protect and preserve nature while inspiring individuals from all walks of life to actively participate in conserving natural resources and embracing practices that promote environmental sustainability.

According to NITI Aayog, nearly 600 million people, which is almost 50% of India’s population, are facing water shortage issues. The country is vulnerable to droughts as well as floods even as climate change is increasing unpredictability in weather patterns and leading to more extreme weather events. Rainwater harvesting, water reservoirs and other methods can help mitigate these extreme events by storing & recharging groundwater and releasing it when needed.

For more information on the topic, read the United Nations Environment Program’s (UNEP) publication here.